Patient Advocate: Bert van Herk
After my studies psychology and political science, I worked in Dutch health care organizations, first as a researcher, then a manager/director/CEO.
While busy working on a career I was diagnosed with lung cancer. My biggest nightmare was that I would not live to see my children, at that time 11 and 9 years old, to grow up. After chemo therapy and an operation I recovered. Nine months after the diagnosis I went on with my life. No time to lose, life can be over any time. I do not fancy the word survivor. It does not feel like I did something heroic. I had some very good doctors and lots of luck. So I did see my children grow up and become the wonderful young adults that they are now.
At the end of 2015 I decided to stop working as an CEO: no more administrative stress imposed by government, inspection and insurance companies. I kept working on the quality of care with more focus on the perspective of patients.
Quality of care from the perspective of the patient requires to measure what value is added for patients. Patient and doctor discuss and decide together what to do and how to do it. At the end they evaluate what the results are. All other parties leave the consulting room.
Main present activities:
- Patient representative of the European Lungcancer Organization (LuCE) in the European Cancer Organization (ECCO) and member of the Oncopolicy Committee and Oncopolicy Executive of ECCO.
- Chair of the Patient Advisory Committee of Spaarne Gasthuis (Haarlem and Hoofddorp).
- Member of two patient complaints committees of psychiatric institutions in the Netherlands.