Nevyriausybinių organizacijų, atstovaujančių pacientų interesus, dalyvavimas valstybės sveikatos politikoje
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This article focuses on engagement in health policy of non-governmental organizations representing the interests of patients (NGOs). A qualitative study using a semi-structured interview method was performed in July–October 2015, involving nine representatives of NGOs from Vilnius and Kaunas. NGOs’ engagement in health policy was evaluated by applying the framework of the theoretical stakeholder participation ladder, which was developed by Arnstein and later extended by Friedman and Miles. NGOs’ engagement in health policy could be attributed to the levels of consultation and involvement, considering their collaboration with governmental institutions and political involvement. Their engagement in health policy could not be attributed to the level of delegated power (shared influence and responsibility) when involved into the processes of decision formulation and decision-making. NGOs are involved in health policy by working groups and other working bodies established by governmental institutions. Financing, close interinstitutional collaboration, competencies of NGOs and their active participation are required for NGOs’ engagement in health policy. The main collaboration form between NGOs and the Ministry of Health is the Lithuanian patients’ forum, however, constant information, involvement in decision-making processes and the initiation of collaboration are the key prerequisites for the development of closer collaboration. Internal and external barriers limit NGOs’ engagement in health policy: hierarchical relationships, the lack of equal collaboration and dialogue with governmental institutions, limited financial, time and human resources.
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