On the 19th of January, the European Parliament voted in favor of a Directive on EU cross-border healthcare (see our December eZine), which will allow residents to seek healthcare anywhere across the European Union. The Directive is primarily expected to benefit patients living close to national borders and those with rare diseases, and will, for example, allow prescriptions to be recognised across borders. The Directive should come into force in 2013. The European Patients’ Forum, of which EFA is a member, welcomed the proposal from the beginning as a positive measure. The version voted on January 19th fell short of EPF’s and other patient organisations original expectations – notably in failing to make direct reimbursements for cross-border care mandatory but instead voluntary and depending on Member States – but was nevertheless welcomed as a first step in the direction of clarifying and strengthening EU patient rights. Also praised was the planned establishment of ‘national contact points’ for patients seeking information on treatment abroad. Press release;EPF stance

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