FRA: EU should provide better protection against discrimination in healthcare

by zoejardiniere

15.03.2013. A new report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) examines experiences of discrimination in healthcare, on more than one ground, called ‘multiple’ discrimination, in five EU Member States (Austria, the Czech Republic, Italy, Sweden and the United Kingdom).

The research found that healthcare users belonging to groups at risk of discrimination, or multiple discrimination, may experience particular problems in accessing healthcare and receiving the same quality of treatment as others. Muslim and migrant women are the two groups who most often said they had been victims of multiple discrimination on grounds of ethnicity or religion and sex.

The report recommends that the EU should provide equal protection against discrimination on the basis of age, disability, religion or belief and sexual orientation to all fields, including healthcare, as envisaged in the ‘Horizontal Directive’ proposed by the European Commission. At present, EU secondary law outlaws discrimination in healthcare only on the grounds of sex, race, or ethnic origin. The report also underlines the importance of introducing positive measures promoting equal treatment through the provi­sion of translation and interpretation services, as well as more dissuasive and proportionate compensation for discrimination cases in healthcare.

For further information:

–         Fundamental Rights Agency, Inequalities and multiple discrimination in access to and quality of healthcare factsheet, March 2013

–         Fundamental Rights Agency, Q&A on multiple discimination in healthcare, March 2013