Intended for healthcare professionals


Cross border health care in Europe

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 01 May 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1157

European court rulings have made governments worried

  1. Panos Kanavos, Lecturer in international health policy,
  2. Martin McKee, Professor of European public health,
  3. Tessa Richards, Associate editor
  1. London School of Economics and Political Science, London WC2A 2AE
  2. London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London WC1E 7HT
  3. BMJ

    It's been an eventful year for the European Union. The resignation of the European Commission may have been a debacle, but January saw the launch of the Euro, and the new Treaty of Amsterdam is on its way to ratification by national parliaments. Both events will have an impact on medicine. A common currency will highlight the disparity in levels of healthcare costs and expenditure across the member states. The new treaty, which paves the way for enlarging the union, will, among other things, fuel the free movement of health-care professionals, especially from east to west Europe. Meanwhile the impact of European Union legislation continues to grow, from the 48 hour working time directive to the directive enshrining mutual recognition of professional qualifications which is spurring harmonisation of professional training.

    Healthcare shopping in the union may not yet be commonplace, but last year's landmark European Court rulings coupled with the price transparency that the Euro will bring will give it …

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