The proposal for a directive on patients' rights in cross-border healthcare [Proposal for a Directive on the application of patients' rights in cross-border healthcare 2008/0142(COD)
] sets up a network of health technology assessment authorities. These authorities, such as the Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) in Ireland and the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the UK, issue recommendations on which treatments should or should not be available for patients.
To date, these review processes have often lacked transparency, been lengthy and not clearly focused on the needs of the patients. Recently, the head of NICE had to apologise publicly for the delays during a review of a new treatment method.
Does the Commission agree that a directive entitled ‘Patients’ Rights’ should also ensure patients’ participation in these review procedures?
The Proposal for a Directive on patients' rights in relation to cross-border healthcare aims at establishing on a permanent basis a network connecting the national authorities or bodies responsible for health technology assessment. The purpose would be to support cooperation and exchange of information, knowledge, methods used and best practices between the 27 Member States.
The provision does not aim at harmonising national decision-making processes for health technology assessment and therefore does not prescribe patients' participation in the national review procedures. That issue could be considered when measures for the implementation of this provision will be adopted. However, it should be noted that, according to article 17 of the proposed Directive, the network in question is composed of authorities or bodies responsible for health technology assessment designated by the Member States.