Health, an issue at the heart of the SaarMoselle Eurodistrict cross-border living area

January 2023

Health, an issue at the heart of the SaarMoselle Eurodistrict cross-border living area

The SaarMoselle Eurodistrict, which has been a member of the MOT network since 2005, answers our questions about a subject at the heart of local life in the cross-border living area.

You have just signed a "Franco-German cross-border health Alliance" with your partners (Saarland, Grand Est region and Moselle department). What is its objective?

The goal of this Alliance is to give a new impetus to improving and facilitating access to health care in the Saar-Moselle living area. It ultimately aims to create a truly borderless health territory and to show the central administrations in Paris, Berlin, and Brussels that cross-border medical cooperation is of vital importance in our territory and that it must be supported. The idea is to create a health corridor along the border to enable citizens to receive treatment on both sides of the border, both inside and outside of hospitals.

The "GeKo" project, for which you are the project leader, has come to an end. What are its results?

From 2020 to 2022, GeKo, co-financed by the INTERREG V A Grande Région programme, made concrete contributions to health cooperation with the creation of a permanent structure (Interface Santé SaarMoselle), the implementation of the first dematerialisation tool between French and German hospitals and French health insurance companies, a contact point, the drafting of two bilingual agreements: nuclear medicine and emergency medical assistance, and the management of the COVID-19 pandemic with the setting up of a joint screening centre. Information for the public, health actors and elected representatives of the territory was thus reinforced by the setting up of the contact point, which receives around ten requests per month, but also with the organisation of two SaarMoselle Health Days and the launch of a website dedicated to the project. GeKo has introduced and developed the idea of a common health territory, which now needs to be pursued and put into practice, in the interests of the citizens of the SaarMoselle territory. The GeKo partnership, which has become Interface, will work to meet the needs of the public and health professionals through a cross-border health territory project that will make it possible to sustain the actions under way.

What are the challenges and the obstacles to be overcome in terms of cross-border health cooperation in your territory?

In this cross-border living area, we face difficulties such as the language barrier and the differences between the French and German health systems. During the GeKo project, we were confronted with the COVID-19 pandemic but also with many political and administrative changes (hospital directors, health insurance fund managers, etc.) which delayed the implementation of certain measures. The main challenge in terms of health in the SaarMoselle territory is to deepen inter-hospital cooperation while encouraging the emergence of a common health territory and putting in place a permanent interface to support it. It is also a question of playing on the assets of our territory to fight against the shortage of health professionals. 

More info [FR]

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