Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue has called on the Minister for Health to approve additional resources for the Cross-Border Directive unit.

Figures released to Deputy McConalogue show there has been a huge increase in people across the country accessing services through the Cross-Border Directive (CBD).

Deputy McConalogue commented, “The cross-border directive provides people who are languishing on waiting lists with an alternative option by giving them the opportunity to avail of health services in another European country. They can then recoup costs from the HSE for the amount of that treatment in Ireland, or the cost of the treatment abroad, if that is less.

“In our County, patients more often than not, avail of services in Northern Ireland for a wide-ranging array of treatments & surgeries.

“The scheme has exploded in popularity in recent years as waiting lists have become unbearably long. This has been shown by the amount of people making applications under the CBD. In 2014, there were a total of 37 processed applications for reimbursement and prior authorisation under the CBD. In 2018, this has risen to a total of 5,379 processed applications.

“For of the amount of people now seeking services through the CBD, more staff are required to adequately process reimbursements in a timely manner. Unfortunately, those who have chosen to pursue medical treatment through the CBD are currently experiencing long delays in having their reimbursement issued. This is not only frustrating for them but also financially crippling.

“The Cross-Border team have made a number of submissions to the Department of Health seeking additional resources to cope with the sheer amount of applications they are receiving. The Minister however, has not yet saw fit to approve this despite this being a scheme which actively seeks to reduce waiting lists.

“The Minister must approve these additional resources so that reimbursements can be processed in a timely manner and so that the current delays can be cleared,” concluded Deputy McConalogue.