John Bowis MEP, who is standing down at the next European elections, is the draftsman of a European Parliament report on cross border healthcare. His colleagues in the environment and public health committee have adopted his proposals today.
The report aims to outline when patients may travel abroad for treatment. Hitherto it has been for the courts to decide. Patients will not need to pay up front for their treatment.
Mr Bowis commented:
"Patients will have a right to seek treatment across the European Union if their national health provider has let them down with a poor or delayed service. The current system has too often caused people unnecessary confusion at a particularly vulnerable time in their lives and it is essential that we provide greater clarity and legal certainty.
This directive will enable patients to seek treatment across the EU with a greater sense of confidence and certainty. It is particularly important that this system is not exclusive and bases a patient's right to treatment on their needs and not their means."
Mr Bowis is an admirably dedicated politician and a man of principle. But this development does of course beg the question about how much such a right to treatment will cost UK taxpayers, as well as raising broader questions pertaining to the rights and responsibilities entailed by EU