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Patients' rights to cross-border health care to become UK law by 2013
At the European Parliament on 19 January 2011, MEPs voted to adopt EU legislation setting out patients' rights to cross-border health care. The Council of the European Union approved the legislation on 28 February 2011, and the new EU Directive on Cross-Border Health care will take effect in the UK from October 2013. Take a look at the RCN's comments on patients' rights to cross-border health care (PDF 54KB). For further information, go to cross-border care.
The mutual recognition of professional qualifications across Europe
The European Commission has proposed some legislative amendments to the Professional Qualifications Directive, which affect nurses' right to work across Europe. Changes include methods of language testing, international alerts on fitness to practise and updating the minimum education requirements for nurses. Read more.
European Working Time Directive
To protect workers’ health and safety, minimum rules are needed on working time in all EU member states. The RCN has always taken an active interest in the issue of working time and how long hours and shift work affect the health and safety of our members and the patients they care for.
The RCN recently responded to a consultation on reviewing the Working Time Directive (second phase). Read the RCN response to the second phase consultation of the social partners at European level (29.4 KB).
At the end of 2011 trade union and employers' representatives at EU level agreed to open discussions on revising the directive. The RCN will be feeding into these discussions through its European alliance EPSU. In August 2012 it was agreed by the Commission that the time period for the discussions would be extended until December 2012 as discussions were felt to be "making progress". Read more.
Public health: alcohol-related harm
The RCN was recently one of 68 organisations which supported the European Alcohol Policy Alliance's call for European policymakers to launch a comprehensive alcohol policy strategy in the European Union for 2013-2020. Read the letter and see which other organisations signed up (PDF 1.1MB).
In 2008 the RCN contributed to a WHO global strategy on reducing alcohol-related harm. Read more.
More recently in February 2012, the RCN produced a short, country-specific policy briefing: Alcohol: policies to reduce alcohol-related harm in England (PDF 188 KB).
Research - Horizon 2020
The European research agenda is divided into framework programmes. The current framework programme is called FP7 and runs until 2013. Its aim is to make Europe the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, with greater employment and more social cohesion.
The eigth framework programme, Horizon 2020, is due to run from 2014 - 2020. Nearly 32 billion Euros will be invested in 'societal challenges', which are divided into six categories, one of which is 'health, demographic change and wellbeing'.
For further information on the next EU funding programme, visit the Horizon 2020 website.
For further information on RCN research activity, visit the Research and Development pages on the RCN website.