Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

Patients' rights in cross-border healthcare

Delivered in Plenary - 23rd April 2009

Mr President

Most of my London constituents have little interest in or knowledge of what an MEP actually does or what purpose the EU serves. This week, however, there are two plenary reports where the public can genuinely resonate with their content. The first is the cap on roaming charges in the Telecoms Package, and the second is patients’ rights for elective medical treatment in other EU countries.

I, too, would like to support my London colleague John Bowis’s report. He cannot be with us today, sadly, because of his ill health, and I wish him a speedy recovery, and he will, of course, be greatly missed in the next Parliament.

In the UK, NHS treatment is often delayed and very expensive compared with other EU countries. A more flexible EU market, with reasonable authorisation safeguards in health care, is a win-win situation both for the general public and also for the national health budgets of the Member States.