About the European Society for Person Centered Healthcare

NATURE of the Society

The European Society for Person Centered Healthcare (ESPCH) is a learned society of clinical and academic researchers, scholars and teachers, healthcare managers, health policy-makers, members of Industry and patients themselves. It is founded on the observation that as healthcare has become more powerfully scientific, it has also become increasingly depersonalised, so that in many areas of clinical practice a preoccupation with biological dysfunction in isolation from a proper concern with the wider effects of the disease on the patient’s life - the illness - is leading to a collapse of humanistic values with profound implications for professionalism, ethics and authentic progress in the care of the sick. The creation of the Society is a response to such observations.

PURPOSE of the Society

The Society is principally interested in the development of models of clinical practice which allow affordable biomedical and technological advances to be delivered to patients, but within a humanistic framework of care that applies science in a manner which respects patients as persons and which takes full account of their values, preferences, narratives, cultural context, fears, worries, anxieties, hopes and aspirations and which thus recognises and responds to their emotional, psychological and spiritual necessities in addition to their physical needs. The Society takes as read that such models of practice would extend empathy and compassion to the sick patient within a dialogical process of shared decision-making and within a relationship of equality, mutual responsibility and trust. The Society’s purpose is to promote this vision and to drive forward a shift of European (and international) clinical practice away from impersonal, fragmented and decontextualized models of healthcare, towards personalisation, integration and contextualization. When the Society’s models of care and publications become available they will be discussed directly with health policy-makers and governments.

ACTIVITIES of the Society

In order to move healthcare away from a reductive anatomico-pathological focus to an authentically anthropocentric grounding, where scientific modification of biological dysfunction becomes imbedded within more comprehensive strategies to heal sick people, the Society has instituted an extensive number of academic Special Interest Groups, a new scholarly periodical, seminal textbooks, a major clinical handbook publications programme, a European clinical condition/s-specific conference programme, an annual conference, intensive training programmes and higher degree fee sponsorships.

CONSTITUTION of the Society

The founding observations, principles and purposes of the Society will be laid out in greater detail within its Constitution and Strategic Plan, to be published in late January 2014. The Founding Constitution is provisional and will be subject to amendment by a two-thirds majority of the Academic Council. Academic Council will hold its first meeting in Madrid on 4 July 2014.

STRUCTURE of the Society

The Society has a: (i) President and Chairman of Council, (ii) Senior Vice President and Secretary General/CEO; (iii) Four Vice Presidents representing the four major geographical demarcations of Europe as defined by the United Nations and a 5th VP for International Affairs of the ESPCH; (iv) 80 Special Interest Groups (the Chairmen of which will function additionally as Members of Academic Council); (v) Treasurer; (vi) Senior Administrator; (vii) Librarian & (viii) Membership Secretary. The President, working with his various vice presidents, will implement the infrastructure, governance and systems of the Society in preparation for democratic elections to the various Offices and positions on a one member, one vote system in late 2016.