Access to health is a fundamental human right of persons with disabilities. It is recognised and protected under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ratified by the European Union (hereinafter ‘EU’) and all its Member States, and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. Under EU law, patients have a right to seek healthcare in other EU Member States. However, the exercise of this right depends greatly on how well EU law is transposed and implemented, and of the level of discrimination patients with disabilities may face when seeking healthcare.
On World Patient Safety Day 2021 the European Disability Forum published the report on access to cross border healthcare by patients with disabilities in the European Union. It aims to contribute to the evaluation of the Patients Mobility Directive by the European Commission and identify additional measures needed at EU level to better ensure access to cross border healthcare by patients with disabilities. The report looks at the anti-discrimination law in EU countries and analysed the websites of the National Contact Points (NCPs) on patient mobility from a disability perspective. It finds that:
- Patients seeking cross border healthcare face difficulties in finding information on their rights. Only 16 websites provide adequate information on the rights for treatment on their territory and 17 about treatment in another Member State.
- Only 9 websites provide information on the physical accessibility of healthcare facilities.
- No website provides information on reasonable adjustments of healthcare facilities and healthcare services.
- Only 2 websites provide information on access to mental healthcare, and none provide information on sexual and reproductive healthcare specifically to persons with disabilities.
- 9 of 33 websites analysed have a (digital) accessibility score below the industry benchmark.
- Only 14 EU Member States prohibit disability-based discrimination and have a requirement of reasonable accommodation in access to healthcare.
Read the complete report:
Report on Access to cross border healthcare by patients with disabilities in the European Union
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