Patients in Europe are still generally unaware of their rights on accessing health services in other EU Member States under the EU Cross Border Healthcare Directive.
Patients are also unaware of the existence of national contact points (NCPs) to help them exercise their rights under the directive, according to the findings of new research by the European Commission.
Only 10 per cent of EU nationals have heard of NCPs, while just 17 per cent feel well informed about healthcare reimbursement in another EU country.
According to the European Commission, a total of 69,723 enquires were made in 2016 across the 29 NCPs who provided data. However, most Member States received fewer than 1,000 requests. Poland, Lithuania and Austria were outliers of this trend with 16,139, 15,052 and 9,826 requests respectively.
The number of requests for prior authorisation for treatment under the Directive made in 2016 remained low. A total of 5,538 requests for prior authorisation were received in the 20 Member States reporting data, with 14 of these Member States reporting less than 100 requests. The outlier was France with 3,886 requests.