Directive 2011/24/EU on patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare establishes the rights for every EU citizen to receive medical care in another Member State and to be reimbursed for care abroad by their home country, allowing patients to access to the best expertise and most appropriate treatment available, even if not available in their own countries.
Andrzej Rys, Director responsible for health systems, medical products and innovation, Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, European Commission (EC), has provided his view on the Directive impact and next steps following the triennial Commission Report published by the EC.
According to Andrzej Rys, the Directive has not only entrengthen liaisons among national health systems, but also provides legal clarity for the application of cross-border healthcare as well as for patients' rights when receiving healthcare in another EU country.
In addition Dr. Rys also highlights the impact of the Directive in the field of Rare Diseases: "This Directive has also allowed Member States to join forces in voluntary cooperation and cohesion between border regions and in furthering cooperation in the field of eHealth and European Reference Networks for rare and complex diseases. The 24 European Reference Networks launched in Vilnius in March 2017 will allow for improvements in the diagnosis, treatment and management of rare diseases, while cooperation and the pooling of resources will pave the way for breakthroughs in research. Significant progress has been achieved, and I am delighted that the European Reference Networks are a very concrete example of EU added value and of the benefits that Europe can gain when we choose to join forces in thematic strands rather than work individually or in silos."
As next milestones, Dr. Rys states that special efforts will be focussed on increasing the awareness of the citizens on the Directive and their rights, as well as promotion of mobility data. "In the future, I would like to place greater emphasis on the interconnection of our healthcare systems, under the auspices of the increasingly rapid development of e-health."
Find the whole interview in the Health-EU newsletter 228 - Focus, Cross-border Healthcare !