Court rules that patients can seek treatment in any EU country

BMJ 1998; 316 doi: (Published 09 May 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;316:1407
  1. Rory Watson
  1. Brussels

    British government lawyers are anxiously studying the implications for the National Health Service of two landmark judgments from the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg.

    The court — the European Union's highest legal authority — ruled last week that patients could seek medical treatment in another EU country and be reimbursed when they returned home.

    The EU judges declared that patients did not need the prior authorisation of their own health authority or health insurance company before seeking treatment elsewhere. They said that such a requirement ran counter to European Union rules which are designed to break down …

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