Since last week the Flemish population of Belgium can read about Castle Craig on the internet, in their own language. You can see our new Belgian site here: www.castlecraig.be
Belgium is neatly divided into the northern half which is Flemish speaking and the southern part, called Walloon, where they speak French. Then there is Brussels, host to the European Union, which has 22 official languages. We launched our new site in the Flemish language, which is very similar to Dutch, and we’re currently working on a French language version.
We have a very active presence in the Netherlands, Belgium’s northern neighbour, and we have many Dutch patients coming to Scotland for addiction treatment. In order to boost our presence in Belgium we organised a visit to Brussels earlier in the year. We had meetings with therapists, psychiatrists, people in the European institutions and an active member of NA. We were told there was plenty of old style psychiatric-hospital-type treatment for Flemish and French speakers, but almost no clinics that used a 12 step treatment model. We were also told that there was very little English language treatment on offer to the tens of thousands of ex-pats who live and work in Brussels.
The launch of our website was supported by the British Embassy in Belgium, who are keen to help companies from the UK develop their activities in Belgium. We sent out a short press release to the Flemish and ex pat media and it was picked up by a leading Flemish newspaper (De Morgen), who published a quarter page article about the new site.
We are organising an event this autumn in Belgium, on the eve of the EU’s Directive on Cross Border Healthcare coming into force.
Peter McCann, the Chairman of Castle Craig Hospital explains: “The new directive allows EU citizens to get healthcare in any EU Member State, and their local health authority must pay the costs. From October this year the legislation will be enforced, and any health authority that refuses to pay will be liable to a fine of ten million Euro. By forcing national health services across Europe to cooperate with each other this could lead to profound reform. We will be in Brussels on the eve of this great reform.”