Patients or people? A challenge for European standards

European health services are struggling as demand increases. Much of the increase is because of the growth in demand for health services as people live longer. But does this struggle have to happen? And how can standards help? In the 5th PROGRESSIVE project newsletter, Malcolm Fisk points out how the marginalisation of older people and ageism in general lead older people to internalise this negativity and make the belief that they have nothing to contribute their own.

Read PROGRESSIVE Newsletter #5

Many of our health services are stuck within a top-down approach where ‘patients’ are ‘delivered’ healthcare services. Neither word (at least as they are presently conceived) allows for new ways of thinking that, perhaps, encourage more partnership approaches to health or suggest that people might take responsibility for the management of their health conditions.

Now, however, the battle for the future of healthcare services is beginning to rage. Public and preventative health is beginning to be recognised as needing a more prominent place alongside clinical health. And more older patients (or is that people?), now equipped with greater digital skills, are fighting against their marginalisation and degradation – demanding that they be seen, as is true for people of any age, as taking active community roles and self-managing in relation to their health needs.

What place for standards?

This battle for the future of healthcare is even being fought in the European standards forums of CEN (the Comité Européen de Normalisation viz. one of Europe’s main standardisation bodies) where ANEC (the European Consumer Voice on Standardisation) has argued for a change in perspective. The ANEC position on healthcare is instructive (see It gives support to standards ‘in the area of healthcare services that relate to the consumer experience, lifestyles, public and preventative health’.

For more information on PROGRESSIVE: or contact Estelle Huchet

For more information on AGE position on standardisation:

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