The project responds to the need of patient organisations for raising qualifications and capacity building. There are approximately one thousand such organisations in Poland. They are mostly formed by patients and their relatives who want to share the experience they have gained during their illness and support other patients. However, for effective advocacy, up-to-date legal knowledge of patients’ rights, knowledge of the health care system and public consultations, as well as strengthening in the area of self-advocacy are needed (“Patients’ organisations in Poland. Structure, activities, needs”, 2017). Although the Patients’ Rights Ombudsman operates a helpline for patients, it does not provide advice and direct support to patient organisations.
As part of the project, the Project promoter conducted a series of six in-house workshops (made available online) on the topics of GDPR, communication and PR, the health system, cooperation with various institutions and community groups, patient rights and psychology. A legal helpdesk was also launched for patient organisations, their clients, members and members of the public. During the course of the project, 20 expert articles and briefing materials were published on the Project promoter ‘s website on current events of importance to patient organisations (i.a. on the application of digital accessibility laws, running business activity in the foundation, the Immunization Compensation Fund, the Government Interim Health Programme securing healthcare for refugees from Ukraine).
Patient organisations that benefited from the project developed their competencies in the area of patient rights and the health care system, as well as in conducting self-advocacy activities. Eighty-seven people took part in the training sessions and 116 people from 48 organisations benefited from the counselling. An important topic of interest to the participating organisations was the EU directive mandating greater accessibility of public sector bodies’ websites and mobile applications.