The European Union has unveiled proposals to introduce a Europe-wide health card, which would make it easier for EU citizens to get medical treatment in all 15 member states.

The European Commission wants to bring in the new electronic card by 2005.

The Commission says the scheme would make it easier for people to work throughout the EU.

According to a BBC Online report the electronic card, similar in size to a credit card, would replace the E111 form, which EU citizens fill out before travelling.

Under the initial proposals the new card would not contain clinical information or data about the holder’s medical condition, but be used to identify EU citizens and make it easier to access health services while in other member states.

The proposed new health ID card would simplify the present system of paper forms, which have been to be regularly renewed if people want to claim free, emergency medical care in another member state.