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March 27, 2015, 12:14

Cross-border healthcare in Europe: Patients’ rights and the effect on the Icelandic healthcare system

Open seminar hosted by the Institute of International Affairs at the University of Iceland in cooperation with the EU Info Centre Tuesday March 31 from 9:00 to 10:30 at the National Museum of Iceland


The EU’s new Directive on cross-border healthcare is intended to make it easier for patients to get access to quality healthcare across the EU and to increase cooperation between states when it comes to healthcare. But how has this Directive been implemented and how will it impact the Icelandic healthcare system and patients from Iceland?

The cross-border healthcare Directive: Free choice for patients across the EU?

Traditionally, health systems have been seen as being outside the EU’s sphere of competence. But the new cross-border healthcare Directive is intended to make it easier for patients to choose to get their healthcare in other EU countries. Why does this Directive exist? Does it really give patients complete freedom to choose healthcare providers in any EU country, even in theory? And how is it being put into practice across the EU?

John Rowan leads the team working on the implementation of the cross-border healthcare Directive. 

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Implementing the Directive in Iceland: How will it impact the Icelandic healthcare system and patients from Iceland?

Iceland is in the process of implementing the Directive on cross-border healthcare. The Minister of Health will put forth an act this spring to amend the Icelandic act on health insurance with the aim of implementing the Directive. What does the act entail? How does this affect the people in Iceland and the Icelandic healthcare system?

Þórunn Oddný Steinsdóttir is a lawyer working in the office of health services in the Ministry of Welfare.


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Moderator: Gunnar Alexander Ólafsson, health economist.

The seminar will take place in English and is open to all. Coffee and light refreshments will be served from 8:30 to 9:00. 

The Institute of International Affairs at the University of Iceland, in collaboration with the EU Info Center, is hosting open seminars focused on contemporary issues in Europe. Special emphasis is placed on the EEA agreement, animal welfare, cross-border healthcare, foreign affairs and the political situation in Europe.