Cross-border health care in Europe



Patient mobility is high on the political agenda in the EU, with increasing numbers of people crossing European borders. Issues relating to health professional mobility have received less attention, yet this is an important policy issue for the EU considering the scale of and reliance on professional mobility between countries, and existing variations in educational and professional standards.

How are health systems in Europe responding to patient and professional mobility, and what are the implications for access and quality of health services? Is greater coordination needed, or do calls for increasing integration reflect a political agenda for increasingly competitive markets in health care?

Recent legislative changes which clarify patient entitlements to cross-border care will have important impacts on national and EU-wide health policies. This policy summary provides a review of the current state of issues relating to cross-border health care in Europe. It combines a literature search with evidence gathered by the Evaluating Care Across Borders (European Union Cross Border Care Collaboration) Project to provide an update on the 2005 ‘Policy Brief on Cross-Border Health Care in the European Union’.