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Public Health (03-09-2015)

Cross-border Healthcare report highlights advances and efforts at EU and national levels

A report on the state of play of the Cross-border Healthcare (CBHC) Directive shows significant legislative advances at EU-level in the past two years coupled with genuine efforts at national level. Furthermore, the Directive has contributed to shaping healthcare reform in many EU countries. It has improved transparency and patient mobility throughout the EU and enabled progress on Health Technology Assessment, e-Health cooperation and European Reference Networks.

However, the report clearly shows that European citizens’ awareness about their right to choose healthcare in another EU country remains low. Less than two in 10 citizens feel they are informed about their rights in this area, and only one in 10 are aware of National Contact Points (NCPs) - offices set up under the Directive to provide information to patients on their rights and on quality and safety issues. Awareness of NCPs varies widely between EU countries, with four times as many Maltese citizens knowing about them (24%) as citizens from the UK (6%) 1 .

Amongst other findings: Patient mobility for planned healthcare remains low – far below the potential levels suggested by Eurobarometer survey (49% showed willingness to travel in another EU country to receive medical treatment). Information to patients about their general rights to reimbursement should be improved. The same goes for data collection - to date, only 17 of the 21 Member States who introduced a system of prior authorisation were able to supply data on applications for authorisation.

In line with President Juncker’s commitment to ensure effective implementation of EU legislation and follow-up on the ground, the Commission will continue an in-depth examination of the measures adopted by Member States to implement the Directive, and to explore all possible means for ensuring the correctness of the Directive’s transposition into national law so that citizens in all 28 EU countries are able to benefit.

More information:


1 Source: Eurobarometer on Patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare in the European Union: http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/ebs/ebs_425_en.pdf