04 outubro, 2008

The Osteopath: Europe-wide healthcare for patients

European patients may soon have the right to access healthcare in countries other than their own under proposals announced by the European Commission in July. This draft EU directive intends to provide legal certainty and consistency for patients, member states and healthcare providers, following a series of European Court of Justice rulings concerning access to care.

Although it is likely that NHS services will be most affected by these changes, the proposals could also potentially impact on reimbursement from health insurance companies for osteopathic
treatment that is provided for patients residing elsewhere in Europe.

The GOsC welcomes the development of a clear framework for cross-border care; however, as both patients and healthcare professionals move increasingly within the EU, there is a need for greater patient protection through proper regulation and high standards of treatment.

Currently osteopathy is regulated in only four EU member states – Finland, France,Malta and the United Kingdom. For this reason, national registers and competent authorities came together as the Forum for Osteopathic Regulation in Europe, in 2005, to develop a consensus on standards of osteopathic education, training and practice with the aim of protecting patients and enhancing confidence in osteopathic professionals.

In conjunction with these efforts, in any
future law the GOsC will be calling for:

> a Europe-wide approach to
communication and information
sharing (such as registration and
fitness to practise data) between
member states; and

> regulatory mechanisms across
Europe to ensure standards of
osteopathic care for patients.

The draft directive on cross-border healthcare will now go through the EU’s legislative process, which is estimated to take at least two years, before becoming law.

In The Osteopath
Sarah Eldred, Public & International Affairs Manager

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