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Brussels, 19 January 2011

Statement by John Dalli, European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy on the EU Directive on Patients' Rights in Cross-border Healthcare

The European Parliament today voted in favour of the EU Directive on patients' rights in cross-border healthcare.

John Dalli said: "Today's vote marks an important step forward for all patients in Europe. I congratulate and thank the Rapporteur, Mrs Grossetete, for all her work.

The Directive will benefit patients across Europe by clarifying their rights to access safe and good quality treatment across EU borders, and be reimbursed for it.

Generally speaking, people prefer to receive their healthcare closer to home. No one wants to travel further than necessary when they are sick. However, sometimes the need for certain treatment leads patients to go abroad. Another reason could simply be that the nearest hospital lies across a border.

In addition to providing a clear and coherent set of rules on cross-border healthcare, this Directive will benefit patients in several other ways. It will help patients who need specialised treatment, for example those who are seeking a diagnosis or treatment for a rare disease. It will bring about closer and improved health cooperation, including the recognition of prescriptions, between Member States. Health experts across Europe will be able to exchange best practices and mutually benefit from innovations in health technology assessment and eHealth I look forward to a swift implementation of this Directive by the Member States".

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