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European health professionals call for non-discriminatory access to healthcare


24 Mar 2011


Health & Consumers

Brussels, 24 March 2011


On 22 March, the European Declaration of health professionals was presented in the European Parliament by Médecins du Monde, the Standing Committee of European Doctors and supporting MEPs Dr Antonyia Parvanova and Ms Edite Estrela to the Hungarian presidency. They urged EU institutions and Member States to take action to allow health professionals to respect the medical ethical obligations when providing care to every patient, especially undocumented migrants.


The European Declaration of health professionals towards indiscriminate access to healthcare, launched by Médecins du Monde in May 2010, was signed by 141 health organisations, representing over 3.000.000 health professionals[1]. Prominent European associations of health professionals, including the Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME), the European Council of Medical Orders (CEOM) and the European Federation of Nurses Associations (EFN) signed the Declaration.


The success of this Declaration highlights the commitment of health professionals and health organisations to care for all patients without discrimination, including undocumented migrants. Health professionals ask to be able to perform their professional responsibilities with the utmost respect of their professional ethics and of each and every person in need. This is not the case in Europe today: policies often prevent a non-discriminatory access to healthcare, and some populations, in particular undocumented migrants, are confronted with restricting laws and practical barriers in accessing healthcare, as witnessed by Médecins du Monde in its daily work.


CPME President Dr Radziwill highlighted that: “Doctors have the ethical responsibility to care for everybody who needs it. It is crucial that they - as well as health institutions- remain free to provide adequate health care to all patients, irrespective of their legal status. This is in particular true for the most vulnerable patients, like undocumented migrants and their children.”


Dr Parvanova, MEP, stressed that the right to health of all and the reduction of health inequalities is becoming a higher priority for EU institutions, and that the European Parliament “calls on Member States to ensure that the most vulnerable groups, including undocumented migrants, are entitled to and are provided equitable access to healthcare”, as stated in its “Resolution on reducing health inequalities in the EU” voted on 8 March 2011.


Having been officially presented with the Declaration, Health Attaché Mr László Bencze representating the Hungarian Presidency reaffirmed “that the Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the European Union says that the right to healthcare and benefiting from medical services is a fundamental right for everyone”.


Please find here the text of the European Declaration.

Here is link to a video on the European Parliament public hearing “Preventing undocumented women and children from accessing healthcare: fostering health inequalities” on 8 Dec. 2011.

For further information, please contact:

CPME: Birgit Beger, +32 2 732 72 02 –

MdM : Benoit Blondel, +32 2 213 42 34 –