Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue has hit out at the Government for failing to launch a proper information campaign about the Cross Border Health Directive, which allows people in the South travel to Northern Ireland for medical treatment as long as it does not cost any more than the procedure would incur if it were carried out in the public health system here.
The scheme was launched in June, but there is very little information available about it.
Deputy McConalogue explained, “This scheme provides an opportunity for patients in Donegal and right across the country, who are facing intolerable waits for procedures in hospitals in the South, to have them done in Northern Ireland. While some highly specialised procedures may need to be sanctioned by the HSE, outpatient visits can be made without prior approval. Under this directive patients pay for their treatment up front and then claim reimbursement from the HSE, however, travel and accommodation expenses are not included.
“This scheme has the potential to vastly reduce waiting times for patients but the Government has been reluctant to publicise it. I am calling on the Minister for Health and the HSE to undertake to begin a national information campaign to ensure that people across the country are given access to information about this programme. Both Leo Varadkar and senior HSE management have a responsibility to inform patients of their enhanced rights under the new rules, and they must take the necessary steps to ensure that this happens,” concluded Deputy McConalogue.