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Proposals for the UK-wide introduction of the new European health ...
Proposals for the UK-wide introduction of the new European health

insurance card were published today by the Department of Health.

The new health insurance card will replace the current 'E-forms', in

particular the E111, which are used by European citizens to prove

their entitlement to free or reduced cost emergency medical treatment

during temporary stays in other European countries.

From 1 June 2004, 13 European countries began introducing the

European health insurance card. The remaining 16 countries including

the UK are committed to introducing the new card by December 2005. An

extra 18 months was granted to these countries as they did not have

existing national health card systems which could be adapted to the

new European model.

Proposals for the UK's card are set out in a consultation document

published today. It is proposed that the card will:

* replace the existing E-forms but retain the same entitlements

* hold no electronic or clinical data, but will show name, date of

birth and a personal identification number

* be free of charge and valid for up to five years

It will also be easier to apply for the new card with applications

possible via telephone, internet, and email. The new card will be

administered by the Prescription Pricing Authority who will be

responsible for processing applications and distributing cards.

Health minister John Hutton said:

'The government is committed to introducing the new European health

card by the end of next year and ensuring that it will be easier to

apply for and easier to use. Until 31 December 2005 UK citizens can

continue to use E111 forms when they travel to any of the EU member


Proposals for a new smart NHS card in England will be developed as

part of the European Health Insurance Card. The Department of Health

will consult further on these proposals in due course.

The consultation published today will run to 28 September 2004.


1. The consultation document Proposals for the Introduction of the

European Health Insurance Card is available online at

2. When UK citizens travel as temporary visitors to other countries

of the European Union (EU) plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and

Switzerland they are entitled to necessary healthcare in the host

country. Currently, this entitlement is demonstrated by the issue of

a range of paper forms, - the E forms. The most common of these is

the E111 for tourists. There are also other forms for other purposes

of temporary visit. These being the E110 (for transport workers), the

E119 (for those seeking work in other European countries) and the

E128 (for posted workers and students temporarily studying in other

European Countries).

3. It has been agreed that the UK along with all other EU countries

will introduce a new European Health Insurance Card, to replace the

form E111 and other forms covering temporary stays, by Dec 2005. The

EC has agreed that the card will be:

- Face readable only ie there will be noelectronic information held

- Cardboard, laminate or plastic

- Follow an EU wide format

- An adaptation of an existing national card or a new card

- Introduced by 31 December 2005

- Free of any clinical data about the holder

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