To keep things simple, this blog has moved to the IMTJ web site. You can find the Health Tourism Blog here in future. Here's an extract of the latest blog post on "A new dawn for cross-border healthcare in Europe?"
A new dawn for cross-border healthcare in Europe?
Will European hospitals see a surge in patient numbers following the approval of the EU Directive on Cross-Border Healthcare by the European Parliament recently?
I would like to say...Yes! But the reality may be a little different. So....let’s take a look at how the EU Directive may (or may not) change the way that healthcare works in Europe and more importantly whether it will give a boost to the medical travel sector.
Consolidation of existing patient rights
The EU Directive does not give patients any rights to cross border healthcare that they don’t have already. It doesn’t introduce any new rights. These rights have already been established by the European Court of Justice. What the Directive aims to do is to establish a framework within which cross border healthcare will operate and to set the rules regarding how patients will access care and what kind of treatment they are entitled to. The new rules should be in place by 2013 (in theory....).
The Directive will end the uncertainty about the kind of treatments that patients are entitled to elsewhere within Europe and it will also allow domestic healthcare systems to maintain control of the patient’s entitlement to cross border healthcare. But the Directive does present opportunities for hospitals and healthcare providers to generate revenue from patients from elsewhere in the EU.
But overall, there will not be an overnight change and we are unlikely to see a surge in the number of cross border patients within the EU.
Within the UK, there are already well established procedures for National Health Service patients who wish to exercise their right to cross border care under existing EU law. Every NHS trust has (in theory) a procedure in place to deal with requests and to manage the process. See “NHS Choices - Planned treatment abroad”. Last year, it is believed that around 500 British patients exercised their right to cross border healthcare and underwent treatment abroad that was funded by the NHS.
.........Read the full article at IMTJ: Go to "A new dawn for cross-border healthcare in Europe?"