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French citizens’ views on the Cross-Border healthcare Directive

On 18 April 2013, the French health associations group (CISS, Collectif inter associatif Sur la Santé), member of EPF, published a survey* barometer on the right of patients in France. The survey focuses on the knowledge of French citizens regarding the new European Directive on Cross-Border Healthcare.The Directive will be translated into national law by the end of 2013. It intends to facilitate high quality, equitable healthcare for all citizens, whether at home or abroad. One of the document provisions states that patients will be allowed to receive healthcare treatment in another member state and be reimbursed up to the level of reimbursement application for the same of similar treatment in their national healthcare system. 

Although the law is very technical, it appears that almost 4 out of 10 French citizens are aware of its existence. It is by evidence more popular amongst people personally concerned by health questions. It emerges that 55% of people with chronic diseases answered positively.

Most importantly, French citizens welcome this opportunity for patients to access healthcare in another member state while being reimbursed in their country of origin. In total 79% of the respondents see in it a progress in access to healthcare. Moreover 77% of them judge it positive for healthcare in general and 70% as regards their personal access to healthcare.

These results illustrate that citizens are interested in measures taken by the European institutions in areas such as health and social services.

The survey also tackles other issues such as the perception of French citizens regarding their knowledge about healthcare as well as the application of patients’ rights.

The full report is available here and more information is available on CISS website (only available in French).

At EPF the Directive represents an important milestone for patients as it establishes for the first time the right of patients in Europe to seek healthcare in another member state and be reimbursed for it. However we are concerned that many of the provisions of the Directive are optional or leave room for interpretation by member states much depends on the way the Directive is implemented.

Its full impact on patients, and all the other involved parties, will only become clear in the course of the coming years. To make sure that the Directive is implemented in member states in a way that adds value for patients, it is essential that patient organisations at national level involve themselves actively in the implementation.

For that purpose we also developed a toolkit including a set of recommendations and guidance on the Directive to help people make their way through it. You can find this toolkit with this link (in the right-hand column).

*The survey was conducted by telephone in March 2013 among a sample of 1,003 French respondents aged 15 years and older.