Cross Border Healthcare & Patient Mobility: Public Consultation on Scotland's Transposition and Implementation of Directive 2011/24 EU on the Application of Patients' Rights in Cross-border Healthcare.

This consultation document sets out the Scottish Government’s approach to implementation of the EU Directive on the application of patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare. It seeks views on the detail of the implementation, and examines the effects the Directive may have on Scotland’s health system.

Article 6 - National Contact Points for cross-border healthcare

10.1 Article 6 requires Member States to set up one or more National Contact Point (NCP) to carry out a range of functions in support of patients. The article needs to be read in conjunction with Article 4(2) and Article 10, which specify some of the information that the NCP must make available.

However, Article 6 provides much more detail on the NCP's role and clarifies that it will also:

  • provide information including right of specific healthcare provider to provide services and any restriction on its practice;
  • provide information about patient rights and complaints procedures, mechanisms for seeking remedies and legal and administrative options to settle disputes, including in the event of harm;
  • provide patients and professionals with information on patients' rights and entitlements and terms and conditions for reimbursement including appeal and redress. (Information must make clear the distinction between rights under Regulation 883/2004 (the S2 scheme) and the Directive);
  • ensure that information is easily accessible, available by electronic means and in formats accessible to people with disabilities;
  • consult with patient organisations, health care providers and health care insurers; and
  • co-operate with other NCPs and the Commission and provide patients with contact details of NCPs in other Member States.

10.2 The NCP will act as a conduit or information point, providing a wide range of information and / or links to the required information (for example, via professional /registration bodies & regulators etc). The intention here is for Member States to work more closely together in the interests of patients. The information given by NCPs on quality of healthcare, patient safety and procedures to follow will help patients make an informed choice on the healthcare they seek. In delivering these responsibilities, the NCP(s) will need to have regard to the requirements and expectations of the Equality Act 2010 (which is UK-wide in scope and contains specific provision for reasonable adjustments to be made by public bodies in respect of disabled persons).

10.3 Scotland will set in place its own NCP arrangements as will England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar. The five NCPs will need to link together for the UK as a whole.

10.4 NHS 24, through its health information service (branded as NHS Inform) is the most appropriate existing NHS body to assume the role of NCP for Scotland as its function is to provide an extensive range of health and health-related information to the public.

10.5 The NCP for Scotland will need to be formally established via the implementing legislation. As part of the implementing regulations, it will be more convenient for the reader if the responsibilities on NCPs, which are set out variously at Articles 4, 6 and 10, are grouped together. The legislation that constitutes NHS 24 will also need to be amended to reflect its enhanced role.

Consultation questions

  • What information, and presented in what format(s), do you think patients need to make an informed decision on receiving treatment in another EU Member State?
  • What will be the impact of providing clear and transparent information on the likely volume of patients who may wish to access cross-border healthcare?


Email: John Brunton

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