Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (777)

Niamh Smyth

Question:

777. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Health if it will be ensured that a permanent scheme will be put in place to replace the cross-border directive scheme post Brexit; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6660/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

Since 1 January 2021, the provisions of the EU Cross Border Directive (CBD) no longer apply to the UK. On the 28th December 2020 the Government approved the implementation of a new Northern Ireland Planned Healthcare Scheme. The new Scheme operational from 1 January 2021 will enable persons resident in the State to access and be reimbursed for private healthcare in Northern Ireland by the HSE, provided such healthcare is publicly available within Ireland. It is intended that the scheme will operate for 12 months on an administrative basis initially, with a view to developing a general scheme to provide a statutory basis for the scheme.

Furthermore, the HSE has also put in place transitional arrangements for certain patients who have a legitimate expectation of continuing to access care in the UK under the current provisions of the EU Cross-Border Directive Scheme including provision for reimbursement of healthcare costs by the HSE to persons who fall into certain categories, such as patients who can evidence that they have treatment booked prior to December 2020 for treatment in 2021. Patients are advised to contact the HSE CBD office directly with queries on individual applications and whether they are covered by the transitional arrangements or the Northern Ireland Planned Healthcare Scheme.

Patients also continue to have access to health services under the EU CBD Scheme in all other remaining EU/EEA countries.

In the context of the Covid-19 Pandemic, persons seeking to utilise these schemes should review and adhere to the public health guidance and restrictions in place at any point in time.