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Brussels, 12 May 2014
Commissioner Tonio Borg delivers a message to patients on the occasion of European Patients’ Rights Day
"European Patients’ Rights day is an important occasion for patients and patient organisations, to ensure that their voices are heard. It also serves as a reminder to health policy makers such as myself that patients should remain at the heart of our decisions and policies.
As health Commissioner, I am committed to upholding the patient-centred principles enshrined in the EU Treaty and the Charter of Fundamental Rights: a high level of health protection for all, the right to benefit from medical treatment, and access to healthcare regardless of financial means. Beyond this, I fully support patient empowerment, and believe that improving the lives of patients goes hand-in-hand with efficient healthcare systems.
Empowering patients means ensuring they are fully informed and in control of their own health care. This is a key principle of the EU Directive on patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare which Member States were required to have transposed into national law by last October. It foresees a contact point in each Member State to provide patients with all relevant information, not only on practical issues for seeking planned healthcare in another EU country and being reimbursed for it, but also on quality and safety of care.
Quality of care - so important to patients and their loved-ones, is also being stepped up via this Directive, with new decisions outlining steps for the operation of European Reference Networks (ERNs). ERNs will bring together highly qualified health professionals from across the EU, advancing extremely specialised healthcare and providing a concentration of knowledge and resources for the benefit of patients. This is particularly valuable in areas where resources are scarce, such as complex, low prevalence or rare conditions.”
Follow me on Twitter: @borgton
For more information:
10 benefits the EU brings to patients: MEMO/14/341
Patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare, including European Reference Networks: http://ec.europa.eu/health/cross_border_care/policy/index_en.htm