EU Report on Cross Border Health Directive due in a matter of weeks – Carthy
Commenting on a response to a written question received by him from the European Commission, Sinn Féin MEP for the Midlands North West Matt Carthy has welcomed the confirmation that the European Commission will draw up a report on its operation by the 25th October 2015.
“The Cross Border Health Directive allows patients to receive medical treatment in another member state of the EU where the patient would be entitled to such treatment in their home member state.
“Patients from this jurisdiction who are entitled to avail of the Cross Border Health Directive will have their costs reimbursed by the HSE after treatment.
“Figures released from the HSE show that in October 2014 a mere 21 applicants applied for prior authorisation of treatment under the Directive and of these, only 4 were approved for treatment.
“This is despite the fact that, according to the latest figures released from the National Treatment Purchase Fund, there are over 400,000 people on the outpatient waiting list and almost 70,000 people on the inpatient waiting lists in hospitals around the state.
“The figures for hospitals in the border region amount to over 48,000 for outpatient lists and just over 6,500 for inpatient lists.
“There can be no doubt that the current waiting list figures are a disgrace and a damning indictment of this Government, which is ultimately responsible for providing adequate resources to tackle them effectively.
“However, it is clear that not enough information is being provided to patients who may be eligible to receive their treatment under the terms of this Directive. In that sense, in my view, patients are being let down again by this Government.
“I look forward with interest to the report by the European Commission on this matter and I hope it will provide some useful insights into the operation of this Directive and how it can be better utilised by patients who require medical treatment.” ENDS
Question for written answer E-009925/2015
to the Commission
Matt Carthy (GUE/NGL)
Subject: Cross-border health directive
It is clear that citizens in Ireland remain vastly unaware of the provisions contained within the cross-border health directive (2011/24/EU). Can the Commission comment on the implementation process of this directive in Ireland, particularly the threat of sanction as regards setting up a National Contact Office?
With regard to the implementation of this directive, will the Commission put a monitoring process in place that requires Member States to gather annual performance data regarding it?
Will the Commission consider establishing a service for the urgent investigation of complaints from citizens frustrated in their efforts to obtain timely medical care under the directive?
Answer given by Mr Andriukaitis
on behalf of the Commission
The transposition deadline of the Directive 2011/24/EU was 25 October 2013. Ireland failed to introduce transposition measures on all provisions of the Directive by that deadline. The Commission’s assessment of the completeness of national transposing measures led to a reasoned opinion that was sent out to the Irish authorities on 11 July 2014. As a result of this infringement proceeding, Ireland notified further implementation measures. The Commission considered Ireland’s transposition complete and closed the launched infringement. The Commission’s further assessment of the quality of national transposing measures is ongoing. Where the Commission has concerns over the quality of transposition it would usually seek to clarify these points with the Member State concerned before forming a definitive position on the quality of transposition. At this point in time, therefore, the Commission remains unable to provide a definitive assessment of the state of transposition of Directive 2011/24/EU in Ireland.
Article 20(1) of Directive 2011/24/EU contains an obligation for the Commission to draw up a report on its operation by 25 October 2015, and every 3 years thereafter. Member States are obliged to provide the Commission with assistance and all available information in preparing these reports. For the report due this October, a data collection exercise was carried out, the results of which will be examined in the report.
Member States are obliged by Articles 5(b), 6(4) and 9(4) of Directive 2011/24/EU to allow patients to complain or appeal if they feel their rights are not respected. Citizens may also make formal complaints to the Commission services if they believe a given Directive has not been correctly implemented by their Member State.
 OJ L88, 4.4.2011, p.45