- Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Frans Pennings and Gijsbert Vonk
Chapter 19: Patient mobility and healthcare in the EU
Cross-border mobility of patients within the territory of the European Union falls within the scope of provisions of EU law on coordination of social security systems and the TFEU provisions on free movement of services. Patients are not only persons who may be entitled to benefits in kind with regard to medical treatment received in the Member State other than the competent state, under Articles 19 and 20 of Regulation 883/2004, but also service recipients who exercise their right to free movement under Article 56 TFEU. In particular, the case law of the Court of Justice has been instrumental in the development of the free movement of services aspect of patients’ mobility. Also, interaction between social security and free movement of services in healthcare provision is an important part of European integration and, in particular, the post-Lisbon objective of sustainable development of Europe on the basis of ‘social market economy’. Yet, bringing together social security and free movement of services is a difficult task. As was acknowledged in Directive 2011/24 on the Application of Patients’ Rights in Cross-Border Healthcare, notwithstanding the possibility for patients to receive cross-border healthcare, Member States retain responsibility for providing safe, high-quality, efficient and quantitatively adequate healthcare to citizens on their territory.
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