Press Release

Minister Callely Opens Conference on Patient Information

Mr Ivor Callely, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Health and Children, today, (17 February 2004) formally opened a European conference on patient information.

The Informed Patient is a research initiative aimed at guiding future policy on the provision of information to patients in Europe. It has recommended that the EU, governments and the private sector focus explicitly on the accessibility, availability, and quality of structured information to patients.

The Minister observed that The Informed Patient report makes clear that a focus on informing the patient as participant could be a source of new energy within the health system, that it is an issue of citizenship at an individual level, and an issue of economic importance at a European level.

The Minister said that The Informed Patient report highlights the extent to which – in our health system – patients are the most significant actors and are also the most significant resource. Their information needs and their information input have not in the past received sufficient recognition.

The Minister drew attention to a number of Irish initiatives which will support The Informed Patient agenda including the forthcoming establishment of a Health Information and Quality Authority, the recently published guidelines on Data Protection in General Practice, Guidelines on Community Participation, the Irish Cervical Screening Programme, and the parent-held child health record. He also acknowledged the work of the Spirasi project in providing peer-led health education services for asylum seekers.

Mr. Stephen McMahon (Irish Patients Association), Mr. Alistair Graham (ERHA), and Professor Jane Grimson (Vice Provost TCD) also addressed the conference of European experts.

The conference is sponsored by the Johnson & Johnson Centre for Advancing Health Information.