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MEP proposes giving patients the right to seek treatment abroad without prior government approval

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 19 May 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1170
  1. Madeleine Brettingham
  1. London

    Patients will have the right to seek treatment abroad if they believe they are being made to wait too long in their home country, under proposals being made by John Bowis, an MEP to the European parliament, next month.

    Mr Bowis's proposals, written in the wake of discussions by the European Commission's group on patient mobility and health care, will give patients the right to book themselves treatment in hospitals in other member states through the NHS. Currently patients have to seek authorisation from their home government if they wish their national health service to foot the bill.

    Mr Bowis, a former Conservative health minister, denied that this would lead to unsustainably high levels of health tourism and insisted that the moves would act as an incentive to countries to improve their health …

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