Implementation of the right to health care under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (2017)



Status report for the European Union
2017, 64 pages
By Willy Palm, Cristina Hernandez-Quevedo, Katarzyna Klasa, Ewout van Ginneken
This publication is only available online.

Article 24 of the UN Convention on the rights of the child (UNCRC),which was adopted in 1989, establishes a fundamental right for every child to access services and facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health. This entails an obligation on countries to
ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right of access to health care services, irrespective of nationality, residence or legal status. This study assesses the legal right to health care for children living in any one of the 28 EU Member States, all of which have ratified the UNCRC.

Irrespective of the actual implementation of this right to health care and the extent of coverage, the report highlights that even in terms of eligibility to health services certain groups of children are left with insufficient coverage or without coverage at all. Children living in a country with no regular residence status are clearly the most vulnerable group. Access is often conditional and restricted to emergency care. But even other children may in some cases fall between the legal cracks. Only a few Member States have introduced a legal disposition that guarantees all children living in their territory a right to health care, regardless of their legal status.