Cross-border healthcare Directive: proven to clarify and guarantee patients’ rights

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During the last three years, the Directive on Cross-border Healthcare (2011/24/EU) has proven to clarify and guarantee patients’ rights to receive healthcare in another Member State, according to the latest implementation report the European Commission published today. Since the adoption of the Directive, no further European court rulings were needed to ensure these rights.

Nevertheless, patient mobility and its financial dimensions within the EU remain relatively low and the Cross-border Healthcare Directive has not resulted in a major budgetary impact on the sustainability of the national health systems. The report also shows that patients are increasingly aware of their rights under the Directive. In the last reporting period (2015-2018), the National Contact Points (NCPs) have been trained and supported to carry out proactive day-to-day interaction with citizens.

The quality of information through dedicated national websites and other means has also improved. The Directive has created a framework for cooperation between health systems especially in areas of Health Technology Assessment and eHealth. In addition, 24 thematic European Reference Networks (ERNs) for rare, complex and rare prevalence diseases have been established, bringing together more than 900 highly specialised healthcare units located in more than 300 hospitals across the EU. There are now also more than 200 virtual panels on patient cases operating under the ERNs. Overall, in terms of the numbers, cross-border patient mobility within the EU has slightly increased in the last three years, as citizens have more access to information.

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