Patients’ rights have no borders (3 May 2016)

Launched in 14 EU Countries a communication campaign
on cross-border healthcare

A European communication campaign on patients' rights in cross-border healthcare kicks off in 14 EU Member States. The initiative is promoted by Active Citizenship Network andwill be officially presented to the EU Institutions on 3 May 2016  at the European Parliament in Brussels.The event will take place in room ASP A7H1 from 16:30 to 18:30, and it will be hosted by the MEP David Borrelli, Co-Chair of the EFDD Group and Co-Founder of the MEPs Interest Group “European Patients' Rights and Cross-border Healthcare”.

At national level, the communication campaignwill be coordinated by the following civic & patient associations:

  • Austria: Lower Austrian Patient and Nursing Advocacy
  • Bulgaria: Patients' Organizations “With You” 
  • Cyprus: Cyprus Alliance for Rare Disorders
  • France: Inter-Association on health (CISS)
  • Germany: Bürger Initiative Gesundheit e.V.
  • Hungary: Hungarian Federation of People with Rare and Congenital Diseases
  • Ireland: Irish Patients’ Association
  • Italy:Cittadinanzattiva - Tribunal for patients’ rights
  • Lithuania: Council Of Representatives Of Patients' Organizations Of Lithuania
  • Malta: Malta Health Network
  • Netherlands: European Patients Empowerment for Customised Solutions
  • Poland: Institute for Patients’ Rights & Health Education
  • Slovakia: Society of Consumer Protection
  • Spain: Plataforma de Organizaciones de Pacientes

The report on the state of play of the Cross-border Healthcare Directive, published by the European Commission on4 September 2015, clearly shows that European citizens’ awareness about their right to choose healthcare in another EU country remains low. Indeed, just 2% of the EU citizens take advantage of its implementation, corresponding to those who can go abroad to be treated in more qualified and specialized healthcare centres. Fewer than two in ten citizens feel that they are informed about their cross-border healthcare rights, whilst only one in ten knew about the existence of National Contact Points.

“To celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the European Patients’ Rights Day, we have decided to organise a widespread campaign in cooperation with some of the national civic &patient associations involved in our network”, stated Mariano Votta, Director of Active Citizenship Network. “We strongly believe that the impact of Directive 2011/24/EU will depend to a large degree on the knowledge of patients across the EU of their rights under the legislation and its potential benefits. Moreover, an appropriate implementation of the Directive will also help the remaining 98% of people who decide or have to stay, for personal reasons, in their own country to get treatments to benefit from better quality and safety standards as well as to be informed about their rights, also in relation to the cross-border access to healthcare and its repayment, and enhance cooperation between Member States”.

The campaign will consist of a series of initiatives at local/national/EU level with on-the-spot and online activities to be realized from June to December 2016, when the first evaluation made from the civic point of view on the effects of the Directive 3 years after its implementation (October 2013- October 2016) will be officially presented to the EU Commission and Parliament.
In 2017, the campaign will be reorganised in the remaining 14 countries of the European Union. The outcomes of the initiatives carried out in 2016 will help improve the campaign in the other 14 EU countries.

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