The European Commission is to run a public consultation on encouraging patients to cross EU borders for treatment.

The European Commission is to run a public consultation on encouraging patients to cross EU borders for treatment.

The move follows a series of rulings by the European Court of Justice that have established that healthcare is governed by the free movement of goods and services provisions, enshrined in the EU's founding charter.

The ECJ has also established some basic rules about authorisation and payment for treatment.

But health and public protection commissioner Markos Kyprianou, speaking at a debate in the College of Commissioners last week, said many issues had been left untouched. These include who should provide information to patients, and who is responsible for their ongoing care and compensation if anything goes wrong.

'A clear, practical framework is needed to enable patients and those who pay for, provide and regulate health services to take advantage of cross-border healthcare,' he said.

The commission wants to create a new framework to encourage co-operation between healthcare systems. It hopes to put firm proposals to European law makers next year.

Conservative MEP John Bowis said it was 'time to bite the bullet and recognise that health is a cross-border issue' and that policy should be decided by elected representatives, 'not left to the lawyers'.