EU health ministers to let the national experts run their national healthcare systems

Press release

Hospital Social Partners urge EU health ministers to let the national experts run their national healthcare systems

We cannot let market forces run healthcare systems or we will end up with a two-tier system of healthcare delivery” said Godfrey Perera, General Secretary, European Hospital and Healthcare Employers association (HOSPEEM).

The Hospital sector employers and trade unions in Europe today joined forces to send a message to EU Health Ministers. The Social Partners for the sector were speaking on the draft EU directive on cross-border healthcare which is being discussed by EU Health Ministers in Luxembourg today.

The European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), represented by Karen Jennings (UNISON, UK) and the European Hospital and Healthcare Employers association (HOSPEEM), represented by Mr. Perera sent the joint message to the EU Health Ministers before 600 public service trade unionists at the EPSU Congress in Brussels.

They urged the EU Ministers to base the directive on a joint legal basis of public health and the internal market. The joint basis would have allowed Member States to ensure that all citizens have equal rights to high quality healthcare based on medical need, and not just the ability to pay their travel, accommodation and other costs.

EPSU Chair of the Healthcare Committee, Karen Jennings:
“The EU Ministers, meeting today, have a chance to put this health debate back on the right track, by recognizing that the universal principles of healthcare solidarity are the starting point and not the internal market”.

Secretary General of HOSPEEM, Godfrey Perera:
“To guard the principle of healthcare systems based on solidiarity, national healthcare systems must have the right to organise those systems – to do this, they need proper prior authorisation abilities”.

The issue of allowing Member State to give prior authorisation to patients, who wish to travel, remains a major issue, as is the need to consider the subject of rare diseases under separate legislations. The EU Health Ministers are expected to conclude discussions tomorrow, 10 June.

For further information, please contact:
EPSU: Brian Synnott +32 474 98 96 75 | E-mail:
HOSPEEM: Valeria Ronzitti / Gin Ngan +32 2 229 21 57 | E-mail:

HOSPEEM is the European Hospital and Healthcare Employers Association. It regroups at European level national , regional and local employers’ associations operating in the hospital and health care sector and delivering services of general interest, in order to co-ordinate their views and actions with regard to a sector and a market in constant evolution. HOSPEEM is an individual member of CEEP.

EPSU is the European Federation of Public Service Unions. It is the largest federation of the ETUC. 8 million public service workers from over 200 trade unions are members. They organise workers in the energy, water and waste sectors, health and social services and local and national administration.