Patients’ Rights: A Lost Cause or Missed Opportunity?

  • Erika Szyszczak
Part of the Legal Issues of Services of General Interest book series (LEGAL)


To analyse these issues, Sect. 5.2 of this chapter examines the political, legal and economic context of the Commission’s proposal for a Directive on Patients’ Rights. Section 5.3 examines the content of the proposal against the background examined in Sect. 5.2. Section 5.4 traces the historical background, and Sect. 5.5 the troubled legislative history of the proposed Directive. Section 5.6 examines in greater detail three points of contention which have emerged as sticking points to achieving and an agreement in the Council: whether the EU has competence to legislate so broadly in the field of health care and what is the correct legal base to use; whether long-term health care (LTHC) should be included in the Directive, and in what circumstances can a Member State refuse to give prior authorisation for hospital medical care in another Member State and the range of institutions providing medical care which can be included in the Directive. Section 5.7 discusses the role of accountability and the role of law in the determination of rights which would flow from the adoption of the Directive. It also examines the role of accountability in the use of cooperative networks, which have been deployed for many years in this area but are now explicitly recognised in the draft proposal and will play an important role given the limited EU legislative competence in the field of health care and the need to treat certain emerging issues in a sensitive manner. Section 5.8 examines the different levels of impact the proposed Directive would have if it is ever adopted, and discusses whether the non-adoption of the Directive would be a lost opportunity.


European Union Member State Legal Base Prior Authorisation Patient Mobility 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



My thanks to comments on a draft of this chapter from the University of Leicester CELI Internal Market research cluster and participants at the conference ‘Health Care and EU Law’ at Nijmegen University in October 2009.


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Copyright information

© T.M.C.ASSER PRESS and the author 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of LawUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK

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