Crossing borders for healthcare in Spain, Poland and Bulgaria

Picture: Mini-workshop in Madrid, Spain, March 2015 © EPF

EPF continues to raise awareness on the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive and to monitor its implementation across Europe. This month we organised mini-workshops in Madrid, Warsaw and Sofia, in close cooperation with our members bringing together patient leaders, National Contact Points and the European Commission.

Maria Iglesia Gomez, Head of Unit within DG SANTE (European Commission), reiterated in Madrid on 16 March 2015 that prior authorisation to cross-border healthcare treatment “must remain the exception”. She added that “the cross-border Directive brings significant progress for European citizens: patients can now choose freely where they get treatment and their right to information is recognised for the first time on quality and safety standards.”

The importance of the cooperation between National Contact Points (NCP) and patient organisations was mentioned several times during that week. Ricardo Mestre and Sofia Caetano, representing the Portuguese NCP within the Ministry of Health recognised “the importance of working in partnership with patients’ organisations to ensure the effective implementation of the Directive”.

 “Upfront payment and the difference of prices between countries will definitely be a barrier for Polish patients to access treatment abroad”, noticed Radoslaw Kaczmarek from the Polish Hemophilia Society, who also pointed out that the directive fails to facilitate cross-border healthcare in the case of many patients with rare diseases.

EPF Secretary General Nicola Bedlington concluded: “This directive marks an important step for patients in Europe. Member states are now obliged to be transparent on their quality and safety standards, and that is a huge benefit for patients, whether or not your consider seeking for healthcare abroad”.

Upcoming Workshops

More information:

Contact: Camille Bullot, Membership Officer,