As Joint Presidents, we would like to extend our welcome to London and this patient-focused conference entitled ‘Patient heal thyself’. This builds on the successful ‘Putting patients first’ meeting in Berlin on 18 May 2018.
Being a patient can be tough. Suddenly one is thrust into a role controlled by others. Emotions may include worry, humiliation, fear and anger. “Why me when things were going so well?” For many in the West such concerns are partly mitigated by the knowledge that there is healthcare readily at hand. From reports in film and from the media one might assume that everyone can be successfully treated by our modern high-tech health system. While the mortality from most common conditions has reduced, not everyone is ‘cured’ or ‘saved’. The price of success is often that patients live for many years with the effects of chronic disease, requiring ongoing care.
This exciting, not for profit conference is for patients by patients, but with input and involvement from all stakeholders. Our hope is to build something of interest and practical value for patients, healthcare professionals, industry, media and politicians. We will be controversial and stimulate debate. After the event, we will once again develop and disseminate a conference report and produce a short film.
We urge you to put the date in your diary and follow the programme as it builds on our website.
Dr. med. Adrian Tookman
Clinical Director for Marie Curie UK and Medical Director at Eaton Hall, Belsize Park, London
Chair Designate of the National Cancer Research Institute Consumer Forum, UK
Advances in medicine and continued support into old age do not come cheap. This changing landscape coupled with increasing demands from a well-informed public has resulted in unsustainable health spending. Governments and insurers around the world are looking at ways to control this. This usually means restricting access or limiting what they will fund.
With the slow demise of universal healthcare comes the increasing realisation that we can manage some aspects of our own illnesses ourselves. Not every ailment needs a tablet or visit to the clinic. Patients and their families can do much to prevent illness and manage their own symptoms. This might include early reporting of ‘red flag’ signs, being better prepared for a visit to the doctor, self-management of anxiety, improved nutrition, more exercise, greater uptake of non-drug treatments etc.