– Although numbers availing of the Directive are up there needs to be more awareness of the facility –

Fianna Fáil TD for Louth and East Meath Declan Breathnach is urging people on hospital waiting lists to consider availing of the Cross -Border Healthcare Directive.

Breathnach said that in accordance with the Directive patients are entitled to receive healthcare and procedures abroad that they would be eligible for within the Irish healthcare system – with treatments including dental care, physiotherapy and mental health services.

“This will mean that patients can now avail of treatments in Northern Ireland.”

“I raised PQs on this issue to see how much money has been reimbursed to people under the scheme since its inception and I have been informed by the HSE the amount for 2014 was €29,246.79 for 7 claims; €571,631.32 for 157 claims in 2015 and for 2016 (up until 30/06/2016) the amount is €533,199.25 for 371 claims. So although the amount of claims is up hugely for this year compared with the entire of 2015, the amount of patients availing of the scheme is still relatively small when you consider the size of waiting lists for procedures at all hospitals within our State.”

According to the Department of Health website on this issue “The Directive on Patients’ Rights in Cross Border Healthcare provides rules for the reimbursement to patients of the cost of receiving treatment abroad, where the patient would be entitled to such treatment in their home Member State (Member State of Affiliation) and supplements the rights that patients already have at EU level.”

“This Directive is different to the HSE’s travel abroad scheme as it isn’t only for those patients unable to receive treatment in Ireland. It allows Irish patients to have their pick of the EU’s healthcare systems, so people should be aware of this.”

For more details on this go to http://www.hse.ie/crossborderdirective

Johanna Walsh, Office of Declan Breathnach T.D., Leinster House, Dublin 2

(T) 01 6183549 (Email) declan.breathnach@oireachtas.ie