MPS concerned about impact of "prior authorisation" under the European Cross Border Healthcare Directive
19 Jun 2012
MPS is concerned about the possible impact that the process of prior authorisation could have on doctors.
We firmly believe that GPs should not be required to act as 'gatekeepers' to patients wishing to access treatment outside of their home country
Under proposals set out in the European Cross Border Healthcare Directive, a patient is able to apply for authorisation to receive treatment in another country within the European Union, subject to meeting certain criteria.
Dr Stephanie Bown, MPS Director of Policy and Communications, says: “We understand that it was the intention of the European Commission that the responsibility for granting prior authorisation would fall to the insurance fund, which in England would be the NHS Commissioning Board. MPS is concerned about the potential for this task ultimately being delegated to busy frontline GPs.
"We firmly believe that GPs should not be required to act as 'gatekeepers' to patients wishing to access treatment outside of their home country, nor should they be responsible for providing the information necessary for patients to decide if they should have treatment elsewhere in the EU.
"Decisions on granting prior authorisation should be the responsibility of the NHS Commissioning Board, delegated to the Clinical Commissioning Groups. We suggest that information about treatments available in other EU member states should be held centrally to ensure consistent content, accuracy, and accessibility.
"MPS look forward to seeing the Department of Health’s proposals on how they intend to implement the European Cross Border Healthcare Directive. It is important that the decision making process in regard to prior authorisation is very clearly articulated.”
MPS will continue to monitor developments to ensure that proposals do not impose an unintended burden on doctors.
For more information, see the links on the right or contact Shelley McNicol, MPS Head of Communications or another member of our policy team.