The European Health Policy Forum released its recommendations on health services and the internal market. EPHA and a number of EPHA members were involved in the drafting process that led to the adoption of this document.

The EHPF outlines in the first part of this document a number of recommendations on how the specific features and goals of health services should be taken into consideration in the development of internal market legislation and in general for any initiative at EU level affecting health services.

The EHPF recommendations are:

- Ensuring that the specificity of health services is adequately reflected in any EU initiative
- Ensuring that sustainability and long-term objectives of health services are reflected in EU initiatives with an impact on health
- Ensuring that adequate consultation takes place in EU initiatives: who is consulted and how the comments are taken into account depending on the representativeness and the weight of the respondents
- Ensuring that a proper health impact assessment including health system impact assessment is performed prior to any legislative initiative
- Coordination between Commission services to ensure consistency of initiatives The second part, the EHPF briefly comments on specific aspects of debate launched in 2003 on what type of SGIs the EU should have and on the Commission proposal for a Directive on Services in the Internal Market.

As regards Services of General Interest, the EHPF recommends:

- Defining at EU level, health Services of General Interest, taking into account the principles of universality, accessibility, continuity, quality, affordability and financial sustainability
- Establishing, at EU level, a general framework for health Services of General Interest which allows Member States to decide on the designation, organisation and financing of SGIs
- Examining the legal status of the principle of solidarity and how it is reflected in EU law

In relation to the Commission proposal on Services in the Internal Market, the EHPF is asking for the:

- Exclusion of health services from the scope of the proposed Directive in view of examining these services within the framework of the SGIs debate
- Clarification of definitions (including hospital care and services )
- Careful examination of the proposed screening mechanism in relation to public health objectives
- Careful examination of the impact of screening mechanism on Member States competencies to organise the delivery of health services at national level
- General derogation from the country of origin principle for health services

According to the normal procedure, the European Commission will now transmit the document to other DGs and to other Institutions.

Last modified on September 10 2009.