Amplifying the Patient Voice

Produced by PPA, on Wednesday Bristol Myers Squibb held their second Patient Summit at Parliament House.

The event was an opportunity for patient voices to be heard in Canberra, amplifying their messages directly to their federal representatives. Much of the discussion of the day pertained to access to new medicines and innovative technologies and helping parliamentarians to understand the struggles faced by Australian patients. As one advocate stated: “it’s really important that the Government and politicians understand the impact of living with chronic diseases, or cancer, or rare diseases”.

Incorporating leaders of 20 Australian patient advocacy organisations, the summit was an important forum to reflect, workshop and refine ideas for change and for innovative healthcare solutions. The Summit included several events over two days including:

  • A seminar with guest speakers Dr Gordon Reid MP (member for Robertson), Dr. Nick Coatsworth (Ambassador for Health Reform at the Australian Patients Association), Richard Vines (Founder and Chair of Rare Cancers Australia), and Elizabeth de Somer (CEO of Medicines Australia)
  • Briefing with clinical trial patients and parliamentarians
  • Networking lunch with Parliamentary Friends of Medicine Co-Chairs, Dr Mike Freelander MP and Dr David Gillespie
  • A ‘brainstorming session’ at the Shaping of Healthcare Together Workshop

Additionally, patient advocates were given the opportunity to engage directly with their local representatives through a series of private briefings.

Reflecting on the event, Hayley Andersen, Head of Patient Advocacy and Policy at Bristol Myers Squibb stated: “[i]t was a critical opportunity to come together in our nation’s capital to discuss the health landscape and ways we can ensure Australians have access to medicines when they need them”.

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