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EU states must decide on "treatment abroad" policy or pay up, says ECJ:

This article was originally published in Clinica

Executive Summary

The European Court of Justice looks set to instruct the UK's National Health Service to pay for a 74-year-old British woman's hip operation in France, in a case that highlights the obligation for each EU member state to clearly determine what possibilities there are for its citizens to seek treatment abroad. EU advocate general Leendert Adrie Geelhoed, in a pre-judgement opinion issued on December 15, said that the NHS does not have a "clearly-defined procedure" for considering applications for treatment abroad, meaning that patients have only restricted possibilities to seek treatment outside the NHS system. This "constitutes a restriction of their freedom to receive services, and is contrary to the EC Treaty," he ruled. The ECJ is known to follow the advice of its advocates in an estimated 80% of cases.

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