Towards Usages of Europe By Patient Representatives at National Level?

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 9:10 AM
Room: F205
Oral Presentation
Thomas KOSTERA , Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Bruxelles, Belgium
Following a series of landmark rulings of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on cross-border healthcare, the access to healthcare in other EU Member States has been facilitated for European patients. After ten years of negotiations these rulings have been codified in the EU’s Directive on the application of patients’ rights. Europe thus now offers national actors various resources to pursue their interests beyond the opportunities of their national healthcare system including challenges and resources for patient representatives at member state level. But do these actors use those European resources inside their national healthcare system? Based on semi-directive interviews, this paper thus investigates if and how patient ombudsmen in the Austrian healthcare system include usages of Europe into their institutionalised routines and which are the national institutional limits to those usages. The paper argues that while Europe has rendered the national institutional boundaries of healthcare systems porous, control over patient flows is kept intact and that there is only limited room for manoeuver  for patient ombudsmen to use Europe at national level.