“The core challenge in cross-broder access to health care is to ensure that political goals combine both the objectives of health-care systems and those of the internal market,” the Commission has stated.
The Centre for Health & Ethics in Society (CHES) and the London Royal College of Physicians organised, on 6 December 2006, a health stakeholder round table discussion on the consultation regarding EU action on health services.
“There are big, inexplicable, variations in health-care outcomes between the EU member states and our technology know-how is not used as efficiently as it should,” said Nick Fahy, deputy head of the Commission’s health strategy unit. “This means, politically, that member states have a huge potential to learn from each other to improve efficiency and equity of health care. The political vision just needs to be clear so that we get the technicalities right,” he added.
He also thinks that the past European Court of Justice rulings have left ‘too much uncertainty’ on the field and, therefore, the Commission now needs to study the impact of cross-border care to national systems, bring legal certainty to the field, evaluate EU action in support to member states and consider the type of instruments to be used for this purpose (regulation, soft legislation or communication).
“We need to balance social and market objectives – those of health-care systems and those of internal market. Political objectives need to combine both and that is the core challenge of what we need to do,” added Fahy.