Cross-Border Healthcare in Europe: Towards Clarity, Quality and Synergy between Member States

The healthcare sector is one of the largest in the EU; it accounts for approximately 10% of the EU’s GDP and employs one in ten workers. Healthcare research and development has the potential to reach 0.3% of GDP and, therefore, health plays an essential role in the Europe 2020 agenda. According to EU statistics, the demand for cross-border healthcare only affects around 1% of public spending on health, however, ‘health tourism’ may be encouraged with people seeking cheaper health services abroad following the adoption of an EU Directive in February 2011.

The EU Directive on Patients’ Rights in Cross-Border Healthcare seeks to eliminate obstacles hindering patients from receiving treatment in another Member State. Rules for receiving cross-border healthcare and reimbursement of these costs are not always clear and as such, the Directive provides more transparency and, also, clarifies who is responsible for quality and safety of care in cross-border settings.National contact points have been created in Member States to provide information and data on treatments, providers and levels ofreimbursement across the EU, while Centres of Excellence will attempt to pool together professional experience between the different states. Furthermore, the Directive includes provisions that are especially meaningful for those suffering from rare and complex diseases with the development of European Reference Networks between healthcare providers and centres of expertise in the Member States. The Directive will reduce the uncertainty commissioners currently have on what rights patients have to receive treatment abroad and how to handle requests from patients for cross-border healthcare.

One year on from the adoption of the EU Directive, this high level Symposium in its second year will tackle challenges to the implementation of Cross-border Healthcare and their effect on patient’s safety and quality, health professionals’ mobility and European standards for healthcare services. The Danish Presidency will explore the creation of an adequate information system for the general public regarding medical prescriptions with equal access to all Member States. Delegates will have the chance to exchange innovative evidence-based ideas alongside good practices linked to cooperation betweenborder regions in Europe and national healthcare systems.

Public Policy Exchange welcomes the participation of all key partners, responsible authorities and stakeholders. The Symposium will support the exchange of idea and encourage delegates to engage in thought-provoking topical debate.

Delegates will:

  • Hear about the latest developments, evidence-based experience and implementation challenges of the Cross-border Healthcare Directive
  • Analyse existing challenges to reimbursement methods and prior authorisation across EU Member States and provide recommendations for cross-border collaboration and cooperation
  • Discuss information challenges linked to medical products, prescriptions and how to meet patients’ expectations
  • Explore existing European standards on healthcare services and mobility of healthcare professionals in Europe and define necessary conditions for improved patient mobility
  • Share good practices on effective cooperation between border regions and understand how Cross-border health operates in reality
Expected Participants:


Who Should Attend?

  • Health Professionals
  • Healthcare Providers
  • Public Health Authorities
  • National Governmental Organisations
  • Local Governmental Organisations
  • Health Insurers
  • Pharmaceutical Industries
  • Hospitals
  • Social Services
  • Health Promotion Advisers
  • Medical Associations
  • Trade Unions
  • Employers’ organisations
  • Public Health Unions
  • Health Research Institutes
  • International Centres for Health Protection
  • Health Networks
  • Patient Associations
  • Charitable Foundations
  • Associations of Schools of Public Health
  • Health Forums
  • Natural Medicine Associations
  • Associations of Hospital Managers
  • Hospital Pharmacists Associations
  • Legal Health Professionals
  • Academics and Researchers
  • Local Authority Officers and Councillors


Contact email




09:15 Registration and Morning Refreshments
10:00 Chair’s Welcome and Opening Remarks

Dr. Raymond Lies, General Director, The Kirchberg Hospital, Luxembourg; President, Board of the INCCI, Vice-President de l’ Entente des Hôpitaux Luxembourgeois (confirmed)
10:10 Session One:
Cross-Border Healthcare in Europe – Implementation of Healthcare Standards and Implications for Patients and Healthcare Professionals
  • Facilitating Patient’s Rights and Mobility – Challenges and Solutions
  • Existing Framework and Practical Implications for Patients
  • Improving Cooperation between Member States
  • Linking Legislation and Standards on Hospitals and Services
  • European Service Standards for Medical Professions
  • Recommendations
Mr. Matthias Wismar PhD, Health Policy Analyst, European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies (confirmed)
Mr. Guido De Jongh, Standardisation Project Manager, European Committee for Standardisation (confirmed)
11:00 Morning Coffee Break
11:25 First Round of Discussions
12:20 Networking Lunch
13:10 Session Two:
Equal and Fair Access for All – Provision of Health Information and Products
  • Providing More Equal and Uniform Access to Patient’s Information in the EU Member States
  • The New Goals of the Danish Presidency on Improved Access to Heath Care Information
  • Sharing Medical Products and Medical Prescriptions Between EU Member States
  • Improving Quality and Safety of Heath Care for Patients
  • Recommendations
Senior Representative, The EU Danish Presidency (tbc)
Mr. Fredrik Lindén Project Coordinator – SALAR, European epSOS eHealth Project, Stockholm Sweden (confirmed)
14:00 Second Round of Discussions
14:30 Afternoon Coffee Break
14:45 Session Three:
Strengthening Cooperation and Collaboration – Extending Healthcare Beyond National Borders
  • Pooling Experiences and Exchanging Information between Border Regions – What can We Learn?
  • Structural and Systemic Challenges between Different Regions
  • Existing Skills and Support Programs
  • Innovative Approaches to Improve Cross-Border Healthcare
  • Recommendations
Mr. Sjaak Kamps, Director, Euregio Rhine-Waal, Germany (confirmed)
Mr. Matt Commers PhD, Project Supervisor EUREGIO II Project, Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Department of International Health, Maastricht University, the Netherlands (confirmed)
15:35 Third Round of Discussions
16:05 Chair’s Summary and Closing Remarks
16:10 Networking Reception and Refreshments
16:40 Symposium Close


Physical location
The Silken Berlaymont Hotel
11-19, Boulevard Charlemagne
1000 Brussels - Belgium