(Brussels 15 October 2010) “The expansion of private healthcare providers in Europe needs to be considered in the light of the proposed EC Directive on healthcare cross border mobility”. This is one of the main conclusions of a report published by the European Federation of Public Services Unions (EPSU) and Public Services International Research Unit of the University of Greenwich (PSIRU) published on September and titled “European healthcare services, multinational companies and a European healthcare market”.
The report explains how the healthcare sector in Europe is increasingly being penetrated by multinational companies. The report reviews the companies which are eligible for European Works Councils and shows that over the past three years, a period of economic downturn, healthcare companies have either consolidated or developed new strategies. In that sense Carola Fischbach-Pyttel, EPSU’s General Secretary, expresses her concern “The report that we have commissioned details how European legislation and multinational companies shape a European health care market, rather than improving the quality of national health care systems in the interest of patients.
In the current period of economic downturn, global services companies have adopted expansion strategies outside Europe, in either North America or Asia. Nevertheless private healthcare providers are becoming an important element in Europe’s healthcare systems. The significance of this company expansion across Europe needs to be examined also in relation of the proposed EC Directive on cross-border healthcare and other European Commission proposals on mobility providing a further push towards liberalisation.
EPSU will closely monitor that this expansion will not undermine either the terms or conditions of workers of the healthcare sector, nor the rights for all patients to good quality health service.
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EPSU is the European Federation of Public Service Unions. It is the largest federation of the ETUC and comprises 8 million public service workers from over 250 trade unions; EPSU organises workers in the energy, water and waste sectors, health and social services and local and national administration, in all European countries including in the EU’s Eastern Neighborhood. EPSU is the recognized regional organization of Public Services International (PSI). For more information on EPSU and our work please go to: http://www.epsu.org