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Remedying discrimination against people dealing with chronic or long-term illness

“Often difficult to diagnose and disabling, chronic and long-term illnesses affect the lives of patients – who may be deprived of their autonomy, their rights to participation and full integration into society – and are a source of discrimination,” said the Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development Committee at its meeting today by videoconference. “It is not for people with these illnesses to adapt to society, but for society to adapt to them, within the framework of reasonable accommodation,” the parliamentarians stressed.

By unanimously adopting the report by Martine Wonner (France, ALDE), the committee proposed a set of measures to States – based on the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – aimed in particular at strengthening screening and prevention, and adopting a holistic approach involving all sectors of the administration for the well-being of patients and the fight against inequalities.

The adopted text also advocates developing the offer of care and services with sufficient funding, particularly in the professional sphere, by strengthening the resources of occupational medicine. Discrimination should be subject to sufficiently dissuasive sanctions to enable patients to exercise their rights to well-being and fulfilment in their professional or private life.

Finally, the committee called on member States to pay particular attention to persons with chronic or long-term illnesses in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, as they are severely and disproportionately impacted by the measures taken to combat the pandemic.