EU moves to open up health services:
This article was originally published in Clinica
The European Commission is planning to put forward a proposal by the end of this year on opening up the EU health services market. The number of judgements that are being made at the European Court of Justice in this area - including the May 16 ruling on a UK patient who sought reimbursement for a hip replacement in France, after a prolonged wait (see Clinica No 1207, pp 2 & 4) - has led to the general recognition that uniform rules are needed. Otherwise, this area is likely to descend into chaos, with the ECJ constantly having to step in and dictate health policy for national governments. It seems likely that the scope of the proposed directive will cover patient mobility and other health service issues, although this will be a controversial area for member states to agree on - under EU subsidiarity rules, public health issues remain the responsibility of each country.