A conference may not provide patients with the information they need to manage their condition optimally.
A conference may not improve patients’ health outcomes.
A conference may not connect patients with their peers and other stakeholders.
However, if patients are not involved in the design and delivery of an event that claims to address patient or carer-focused questions, then the event is guaranteed not to deliver the three benefits listed above.
Are you planning an event focused on a patient or carer-related theme?
If so, ask yourself the following questions:
Will patients or caregivers with experience relevant to the central theme of your event actively participate in its design and planning, including the selection of themes, topics and speakers?
Will patients or caregivers with experience of the issues addressed by your event be participating in its delivery, and appear in its physical audience?
Will travel and accommodation expenses for patients or carers participating in the advertised programme be paid in full, in advance? Will scholarships be provided by the conference organisers to allow patients or carers affected by the relevant issues to attend as delegates?
Will the disability requirements of participants be accommodated? Will all applicable sessions, breakouts, ancillary meetings, and other programme elements be open to patient delegates?
Will access for virtual participants be facilitated, with free streaming video provided online wherever possible?
If your answer to all of the above is ‘yes’, then: congratulations! Your event is eligible for accreditation as an official Patients Included event.
If your answer to any or all of the above is ‘no’, then from 2pm UK time this afternoon, members of the public may begin asking you why, because today sees the launch of Patients Included, a charter for conferences.
Ultimately, the charter’s potential to change the way that healthcare events are designed and delivered can only be realised through its being actively implemented.
In order for this to happen, event organisers need to be aware of its existence.
Therefore, the awareness-raising and lobbying work of the Patients Included charter’s supporters begins in earnest today – and you can join us by becoming a signatory.
Finally, on a personal note I’d like to extend my sincere thanks and best wishes to the charter co-authors for their expert insights, solidarity, and good humour.