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About us

This is a new group set up to link colleagues working in the area of cross-border healthcare and patient mobility in Europe, to interpret policy, facilitate discussion, share materials etc. This network will also support ALL future activity relating to implementation of the Cross-border Healthcare Directive into NHS systems.

Cross-border Healthcare Directive

In July 2008, the European Commission published a draft Directive on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare. This draft legislation seeks to codify existing ECJ case law on patients’ rights in accessing cross-border healthcare and to clarify its application. The draft Directive aims to set out a legal framework for patients seeking access to healthcare in another EEA Member State.

The broad outline of the Commission’s proposal is that in cases of patients accessing cross-border care, the ‘home’ state has responsibility for deciding what healthcare it will fund and for setting up a system of cost reimbursement to patients. The patient will then be entitled to a reimbursement of their costs, up to the amount the home state would have paid to treat that person at home. Where a patient is treated in another Member State, that country’s legislation and standards apply – this includes the arrangements for negligence or redress, should anything go wrong. The draft Directive does not alter the right of Member States to define the benefits that they choose to provide.

The detail of the draft Directive is subject to ongoing negotiations between Member States and with the European Parliament.  It is likely that an agreed Directive will be adopted early in 2011. However, the case law that the Directive seeks to codify and clarify applies now and therefore the NHS and particularly commissioners should already be mindful of the need to have procedures in place to respond promptly and appropriately to requests on patient mobility issues.

This network aims to facilitate understanding of the complex policy and legal considerations in cross border healthcare and patient mobility and help NHS colleagues work through the requirements of European law in this area.