An European debate and webinar among Institutions, experts, civic & patient organizations

4th March 2016 - Rome (Italy)

Active Citizenship Network, European branch on the Italian NGO of Cittadinanzattiva, is participating at the European project “From Citizen Involvement to Policy Impact (U-Impact)” supported by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union.
The project coordinates citizen involvement with the public authorities on national and European level in nine European countries (Albania, Belgium, Cyprus, France, Estonia, Italy, Romania, Spain)  in order to increase the impact of citizen initiatives on the policy making process in the European Union. In this context ACN will organize a conference in Rome in the first half of 2016 on the topic of “Improving EU Citizens’ Rights in the European Union”. As the topic is very broad, Active Citizenship Network will  focus on one of its expertise: strengthening and protecting patients’ rights, as it is officially recognized by the EU Commission-DG Santé in the EU Health Policy Forum as European stakeholder in the fields of public health and healthcare.

Patients want to access cross-border health services when treatment is not available in their home country, when it is managed better elsewhere, or, as in the case of many border areas,  when the nearest available care is in another Member State. Currently, cross-border healthcare accounts for approximately 1% of the overall EU public health spending – around €10 billion per year.
The Directive 2011/24/EU on patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare has been regarded by many as a major achievement of the ‘patient empowerment’ policy promoted by patient organizations as well as European institutions, granting European citizens the right to access healthcare services in a different member state. Designed to address the obstacles deriving from the diversity of healthcare systems, such as the reimbursement rules and the delivery of health-care services, the “Cross-Border Healthcare Directive” has established a general legal framework aimed at maintaining the sustainability of health systems while protecting patients’ right to seek treatment outside their home country.
According to the World Health Organization’s report on ‘Cross-Border Healthcare in Europe’, the volume of patient mobility within the European Union remains relatively low as people are frequently unwilling to travel to other countries for care. On the other hand, where patient mobility exists, this has raised issues related to its impact for patients, health professionals and health systems.

The report on the state of play of the Cross-border Healthcare (CBHC) Directive, published by European Commission last September 4th, clearly shows that European citizens’ awareness about their right to choose healthcare in another EU country remains low. Less than two in 10 citizens feel they are informed about their rights in this area, and only one in 10 are aware of National Contact Points (NCPs).
These aspects have provoked calls for better coordination of health systems and policies across the EU, resulting in the implementation of the ‘Cross-Border Healthcare Directive’. 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.

The aims of the initiative

  • Promote a constructive debate on a crucial achievement for European citizens and patients, the Directive on patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare, as well as on the current state of its implementation throughout Europe. The fact that the Directive title contains the words “patients’ rights” demonstrates that this normative highlights the relation between citizens/patients and healthcare systems.
  • Discuss concrete actions in order to facilitate access to better and safer care for patients in the EU.
  • Raise awareness through examples of a “grass-root” participation, how civic organizations can play an active role in the European policy making in the field of patients' rights.

Draft programme

  • Presentation of the overview research “ The Respect of Patients’ Rights: a civic assessment at the EU Level”
  • Successful civic experience: from the local Charter of patients’ rights to the Interest Group at the EU Parliament “European Patients' Rights and Cross-Border Healthcare”
  • Ten benefits the EU brings to patients
  • The new challenge: the patients’ right in the framework of cross border healthcare
  • A call to action: communication campaign on patients’ rights all around Europe

Debate and interaction will be encouraged during all the meeting

Contact details
Active Citizenship Network staff:
Daniela Quaggia and Sonia Belfiore
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
tel: +39 (0)636718315
tel: +39 (0)636718207

The project is realized with the support of the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union


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