Insights from the 17th Beyond Borders: Breakfast Debate!

The 17th episode of the Beyond Borders: Breakfast Debate series, organized by the Border Focal Point Network, was successfully held on March 21st, 2024. This debate featured experts from various backgrounds in a discussion on "Facilitating Access to Healthcare in Cross-Border Regions."

The event was moderated by Lord Andrew Lansley, who initiated by greeting all attendants and attendees. He first welcomed Valeria Cenacchi, Programme Manager of DG REGIO, to introduce the subject of cross-border access to healthcare. Ms. Cenacchi noted that over the past years, it has become evident that cross-border cooperation in healthcare is not a matter of if, but of how. This implies addressing the complexity of this subject at both regional and national levels. She emphasized the need for incentives, innovation, creativity, goodwill, and practical experience to shape better policy essential for facilitating access to healthcare in cross-border regions.

Next, Marco Di Donato, Policy and Project Officer at EUREGHA, commenced his presentation with an overview of the work of the EUREGHA (European Regional and Local Health Authorities) Network. The main aims of the network include the exchange of knowledge and best practices between its members and improving advocacy, policy, and project actions at the EU level. Mr. Di Donato presented the most significant obstacles patients face when accessing healthcare across borders, and also shared ongoing projects and studies as best practices for consideration.

The debate then featured a video testimonial by Dr. Maarja Brause, head doctor of Valga Hospital, which is located on the Estonian side of the Estonian-Latvian border, and has recently sought the expertise of b-solutions to improve their services to citizens from Latvia. Read more about the case here.

17th breakfast debate screenshot

Succeeding panellists included Natalia Zampieri of DG SANTE, who presented the aspect of patients' rights in cross-border healthcare and a list of ten upcoming workshops at the national level to increase awareness of patients' rights. Jessica Nougier, Project Manager at Eurodistrict SaarMoselle, highlighted the German-French cross-border cooperation in healthcare through the Good Practice example of the Interreg VA 2020-2022 GeKo SaarMoselle Project.

Caitriona Mullan, currently working with DG REGIO as an independent expert, emphasized the importance of making healthcare systems in Europe more resilient through cooperation. She mentioned the need for systems in border regions capable of delivering patients' rights and advocated for the cooperation of health systems in border regions and the improvement of health data exchange.

Finally, Anne Dussap of the Trinational Centre of Competences for Cross-Border Healthcare in the Upper-Rhine Region presented the work of TRISAN in facilitating patients' access to cross-border healthcare through better cooperation between healthcare providers and stakeholders.

The remainder of the session included a Q&A with the attendees, as well as information on upcoming events and workshops. 

The two poll questions that were featured on the debate were:

1.  "Which of the following has the biggest impact on facilitating patients' access to Cross-Border HealthCare (CBHC)?"

2. “What are the main barriers to accessing healthcare services across borders?


Watch the replay and download all the presentations below!

1 EUREGHA - Marco Di Donato BFPN CBHC
(639.09 KB - PDF)
2 DG SANTE - Natalia Zampieri BFPN CBHC
(1007.76 KB - PDF)
3 SaarMoselle - Jessica Nougier BFPN CBHC
(624.55 KB - PDF)
4 TRISAN - Anne Dussap BFPN CBHC
(1012.41 KB - PDF)
Cross-Border Cooperation Beyond Borders: Breakfast Debates cross-border healthcare