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EU: Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council

Volume 711: debated on Tuesday 2 June 2009

Statement

My right honourable friend the Minister of State, Department of Health (Dawn Primarolo) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

The Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council will meet on 8 and 9 June. The health and consumer affairs part of the council will be taken on 9 June.

Items on the main agenda are: patient safety, including prevention and control of healthcare-associated infection; rare diseases; a progress report on patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare; and a discussion on the pharmaceutical package, which contains three separate dossiers.

Ministers will be asked to adopt draft council recommendations on both patient safety and rare diseases. The patient safety recommendation aims to make patient safety and the prevention and control of healthcare-associated infections a priority in member states’ public health objectives. The rare diseases recommendation will improve the codification and classification of rare diseases. It will aim to improve the exchange of expertise on rare diseases and, hence, enable more effective treatment of rare diseases in the United Kingdom and other European Union countries. The recommendation also encourages more EU-level research on rare diseases.

There will also be a progress report and discussion on a proposal for a directive of patients’ rights in cross-border healthcare. The draft directive focuses on codifying ECJ case law on patient mobility and clarifying the rights of patients, together with how member states’ health systems can manage patient mobility in a sustainable way.

Also tabled for discussion is the pharmaceuticals package. There are three dossiers under this package:

a proposal for a directive regarding the prevention of the entry into the legal supply chain of medicinal products falsified in relation to their identity;

a proposal regarding pharmacovigilance of medicinal products for human use; and

a proposal concerning information to the general public on medicinal products for human use.

Both the proposals on patients’ rights and the pharmaceutical package are currently being negotiated in council working groups.

Over lunch, the presidency will chair an informal ministerial discussion on health security-related matters, including influenza.

Under any other business, there will be information from the presidency on the implementation of the United Nations convention on the rights of people with disability and a progress report on a directive on standards of quality and safety of human organs intended for transplantation. There will also be information from the Danish delegation on ingredients in tobacco, and information from the Swedish delegation will provide information on the work programme for their forthcoming presidency.