Engaging people in every step: patients and carers explain the benefits of people-centred health care

Visiting the outpatient centre is not mandatory, but it gives you an opportunity to interact with the health system and with others in a safe environment, where you can share concerns with your doctor and chat with other patients.

Georgi Hristov, Bulgaria, health experience related to paranoid schizophrenia

"Voices of Patients and Carers" consists of a collection of personal stories, a photo series and a film called "Journeys to Health", which share the real-life stories of people throughout the WHO European Region who played an integral role in their own care during their personal health challenges. 

These stories portray the positive outcomes of engaging and involving people in every step of their health care and the benefits of open collaboration between patients and their carers. This priority drives WHO/Europe to give a voice to people directly affected by the health system and to encourage policy-makers and health professionals to take the perspective of patients, seeing possibilities and potential through their eyes.

The voices of patients and carers underpin the policy document "Priorities for health systems strengthening in the WHO European Region 2015–2020: walking the talk on people centredness", which was approved by all 53 Member States of the WHO European Region at the 65th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe, held in Vilnius, Lithuania, on 16 September 2015. 

Actively listening to patients, families and communities and involving them in designing health systems that are more responsive to people's needs is a growing priority for governments worldwide and within Europe. These stories provide an open invitation to health leaders to take an inclusive approach that harnesses feedback from citizens to drive system-wide improvements.