Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Ceisteanna (356)

Noel Grealish

Ceist:

356. Deputy Noel Grealish asked the Minister for Health if appointments under the treatment abroad scheme which have been scheduled prior to Brexit on 29 March 2019 will be honoured regardless of the way in which the UK will leave the EU; if another appointment can be scheduled in another EU country immediately to avoid unnecessary delays; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5147/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The HSE operates the EU Treatment Abroad Scheme (TAS) for patients entitled to treatment in another EU/EEA Member State under EU Regulation 883/2004, where the treatment is not available in the Irish public hospital system. The treatment must be one which is among the benefits provided for by Irish legislation. GPs refer patients to consultants for acute care and it is the treating consultant who, having exhausted all treatment options including tertiary care within the country, refers the patient to an EU/EEA Member State under the terms of the TAS. The consultant must specify the specific treatment and in making the referral accepts clinical responsibility in relation to the physician and facility abroad where the patient will attend.

As part of a whole of Government response to Brexit, the Department of Health is working to ensure a comprehensive and coordinated set of preparations to ensure continuity of health services post-Brexit. This work involves the Department and the HSE and other agencies in engaging in intensive Brexit preparedness and contingency planning.

Work is ongoing to ensure that insofar as possible there is minimum disruption to health services and that essential services, such as those covered under the current EU TAS, are maintained on a cross-Border, all-island and Ireland-UK basis.

It should also be noted that post-Brexit, the TAS will continue to entitle patients to be referred, by their Irish based consultant, to the remaining EU/EEA Member States.