Second Regional Conference on Cross-Border Healthcare

This Conference was the second in a series of four EPF regional events for patient communities on the Cross-border Healthcare Directive. We have just released a report that captures the priorities and nuances expressed during this meeting. Our third one is currently underway in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

The Greek event gathered patient leaders from the four participating countries – Cyprus, Greece, Italy and Malta – who have the capacity to transfer learning and knowledge from the conference to peers within their organisation and networks.

Greek Health Minister Adonis Georgiadis (pictured) emphasised that the ongoing efforts to improve patients’ rights represent one of the most crucial issues in today’s approach to healthcare in the European Union. The Directive opens up new prospects for further cooperation in delivering treatment to patients across the EU.

However, the context – in Greece just as in other Member States – is worsening health inequalities due to the economic crisis, especially in terms of access. The discussion raised a number of key issues and specific recommendations, highlighting the opportunities for the Directive to create change. At the same time the debate shed light on some of the flaws and core challenges contained in the text as it stands today.

On 7-9 July patient organisations’ representatives from Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia are meeting in Ljubljana for the third Regional Conference (link). One last event will be organised on 6-8 October in Tallinn, Estonia with representatives from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and Sweden (link).

With this set of conferences, EPF together with patient communities of the participating countries are taking the first steps towards stronger awareness of the landmark Directive and its implications for patients. We have contributed to create a network of patient leaders who are committed to disseminating information to their peers and working together with the National Contact Points in their Member States to support effective implementation.

During the next two years, EPF and our members will continue to monitor the impact of the legislation closely from a patients’ perspective and ensure that the grassroots patients’ experiences will inform the European Commission’s first progress report, due in October 2015.

Please click here to read the full version of the report and here for more information about our work in this policy area.

Contact: Kaisa Immonen-Charalambous, EPF Senior Policy Advisor,