Brits get new rights to foreign healthcare under EU rules

Chris Davies MEP

Chris Davies MEP

Tameside’s Liberal Democrat Euro-MP has welcomed moves to allow people to travel to other EU countries for operations if the NHS is too slow. New rules approved by the European Parliament will allow people to receive medical treatment in other EU Member States if their home country is unable to provide essential medical care within a reasonable timeframe.

Patients will be able to have the treatment paid for or claim back the money if they pay upfront. The new rules are due to take effect in 2013.

Chris Davies MEP who is the Liberal Democrat spokesperson on the Environment and Public Health Committee of the Parliament said, “This new system will protect our NHS but provide options for people who need  treatment.

“NHS hospitals will get the full costs of treating other EU nationals paid and Tameside people will have the option of travelling if that is what it takes to get treatment.”

UK citizens who fall ill abroad can already get emergency care across the EU with their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).  The new scheme expands this to ‘elective’ treatment’ when a particular treatment can be provided faster or more expertly abroad.

NHS doctors will have to give prior authorisation for treatments abroad that can be reimbursed, patients will only be entitled to reimbursement for treatment that their home health authority would normally provide, and
travel or hotel costs cannot be claimed back.