On the same day as the first ever World Parkinson’s Disease Day celebration – 11 April 1997 – the Charter for People with Parkinson’s was launched. Its aim was to raise the profile of Parkinson’s and enhance the public’s awareness of the disease; it also provided people with Parkinson's (PwPs), their families and healthcare professionals with the opportunity to work together on an unprecedented scale.
The Charter is a vital document – and a unique one – for there had never been such a high-profile or officially endorsed statement of intent that demanded minimum standards of care for PwPs. Specifically, the Charter states that PwPs have the right to:
- be referred to a doctor with a special interest in Parkinson’s
- receive an accurate diagnosis
- have access to support services
- receive continuous care
- take part in managing their illness.
The Charter and its principles were supported by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other notable individuals, including Pope John Paul II, Luciano Pavarotti, Princess Diana, Muhammad Ali, various UK prime ministers and other influential people from around the world.
The principles of the Charter are still incredibly relevant to the EPDA and PwPs across Europe today. It has formed the foundations for each and every EPDA project since 1997 – and will continue to do so.
Strong examples of this philosophy include the Move for Change campaign and The European Parkinson’s Standards of Care Consensus Statement.
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