The HSE currently operates two schemes that facilitate patients accessing treatment abroad.
The Treatment Abroad Scheme (TAS) allows public patients to be referred to another EU/EEA Member State for treatment, in their public healthcare system, that is not available in Ireland, subject to qualifying criteria. A patient's Irish based consultant is responsible for referring the patient abroad under the terms of the TAS, after having exhausted all treatment options including tertiary care within Ireland. The HSE provides information for patients on the TAS on its website.
An alternative where the treatment is available in Ireland is the Cross Border Directive (CBD), which the HSE operates in Ireland. Under the terms of the CBD patients in Ireland can be reimbursed for medical treatment, that is available in the public health service in Ireland, but received in another EU\EEA Member State. The patient may access the overseas service in either the public or private health sector of the other Member State they choose to receive the service in. The patient pays for the treatment and claims reimbursement from the HSE at the cost of that treatment in Ireland or the cost of it abroad, whichever is the lesser.
Referral for care under the CBD may be made by a GP, a hospital consultant and certain other clinicians. The HSE through the National Contact Point (NCP) provides information for patients on the operation of the CBD.
The patient should contact the HSE TAS/CBD office for advice on making an application for treatment abroad under the most appropriate scheme. They can be contacted in writing at HSE TAS/CBD Office, St Canices, Laken, Dublin Road, Kilkenny, R95 P231 or by phone on 056 778 4551. Information is also available on the HSE's TAS and CBD websites.