The implementation of a European Cross Border Healthcare Directive means the HSE is obliged to pay pay for treatments in other EU countries.
With over 18,000 people on in and out patient waiting lists at Letterkenny General Hospital, Independent MEP Marian Harkin is urging them to consider travelling across the border, or to other EU countries, to access more immediate hospital treatments.
She says Ireland had been slow to adopt the European Cross Border Healthcare Directive but has now done so.
Travel and treatment costs do have to be paid up front, and the HSE then reimburses the patient on presentation of invoices. However, Ms Harkin says she is in touch with the Credit Union with a view to reaching a deal on special loans................
Ms Harkin's statement in full -
The implementation of the European Cross Border Healthcare Directive will mean that the HSE will pay for treatments for Donegal patients who currently have to endure ongoing lengthy waiting lists.
This was stated by Independent MEP Marian Harkin when she urged the 18,499 in and out-patients currently on Letterkenny General Hospital waiting lists to consider travelling cross border, or to other EU countries, to access more immediate hospital treatments.
“It almost seems to be a well kept secret that the HSE is obliged to fund treatments in Northern Ireland or throughout the EU that are already available in the Republic. This can mean much shorter or no waiting times for patients who are on waiting lists”, she said.
Ireland had been slow to adopt the European Cross Border Healthcare Directive but it was now available for all and patients from Donegal could access treatments even if they were not currently on waiting lists, she said.
“For those who have been, and will continue to be, on lengthy waiting lists the Cross Border Health Directive affords a significantly better opportunity for treatment by healthcare experts with consequent enhancement of their well being and quality of life”, she said.
The scheme required patients to initially fund their travel expenses, and payment for treatment, but the HSE was committed to paying for the treatment on receipt of the invoice, she said. There are certain rules and regulations, but nothing excessive, and member states have a duty under EU law to facilitate patients who apply, she added.
“In order that everybody, including those lacking financial resources, can access this EU scheme I will be proposing to the Credit Union movement that they provide where necessary up front funding, with appropriate conditions, to ensure that all who wish can avail of this very welcome opportunity”, Independent MEP Marian Harkin concluded.
The HSE National Contact Point of the Cross Border Healthcare Directive is in Kilkenny – telephone 056-7784546