United cross-border healthcare for the Lower Austria – South Bohemian region

The EU-funded Healthacross for Future project is ensuring that residents living on both sides of the Lower Austria – South Bohemian border have equal access to quality healthcare.

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The first cross-border health centre in Gmünd, Austria. ©Lower Austria Health and Social Fund (2019) The first cross-border health centre in Gmünd, Austria. ©Lower Austria Health and Social Fund (2019)

" This project successfully stimulated cross-border cooperation in the field of healthcare, ensuring that Czech patients have ready access to existing outpatient and new inpatient care at the Gmünd Hospital in Lower Austria. This represents a significant step towards creating a common cross-border health centre. "

Elke Ledl, Head of the Healthacross initiative

The divided city of Gmünd/České Velenice, located in the Lower Austria – Southern Bohemia region, is a case study in the need for cross-border cooperation. In České Velenice, in the Czech Republic, access to quality healthcare is problematic – especially in emergencies. Here, the nearest emergency centre is 18 km away in Suchdol nad Lužnicí, and the nearest hospital is over 60 km away in České Budějovice.

The good news is that just across the border on the Austrian side – only a couple hundred metres away – is the Gmünd Hospital. Now, thanks to the EU-funded Healthacross for Future project, Czech patients can simply go across the border to get quality outpatient and inpatient treatment at the hospital.

Guaranteed access to quality healthcare

The Healthacross initiative is dedicated to removing hurdles and creating more equality in accessing healthcare. The initiative brings regional and supra-regional healthcare interests into a single international network for cooperation and exchanging information.

With its foundation laid in prior EU-funded projects, the project takes this cross-border cooperation further. With the aim of improving the quality of life for residents, the project is working to guarantee access to high-quality healthcare by:

  • Providing cross-border outpatient care;
  • Offering inpatient care to Czech patients at Gmünd Hospital;
  • Testing the feasibility of sharing medical services between the two countries;
  • Sharing knowledge between Austrian and Czech healthcare specialists; and
  • Planning and implementing a state-of-the-art cross-border health centre. 

Improving quality of life

By harmonising the two cities’ health systems, the project has successfully responded to the need for equal access to medical care on both sides of the border. Already, residents are benefiting from shorter travel times and quicker treatment, both of which help improve the region’s quality of life. With the future addition of the cross-border health care centre, everyone will soon have access to some of the region’s best quality medical care.

To ensure the long-term sustainability of these services, the project has partnered with the respective government health administrations of both regions.

Total investment and EU funding 

Total investment for the project “Healthacross for future - Cross-border provision of health care Lower Austria - South Bohemia” is EUR 434 645, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 369 448 through the “Interreg V-A - Austria-Czech Republic” Operational Programme for the 2014-2020 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “Sustainable networks and institutional co-operation”.

 

Draft date

08/08/2019