Hayes to seek meeting with EU Commission on low take up in Ireland of EU Cross Border Health Directive

Only 62 patients benefit from EU Health Directive in last 12 months

MEP for Dublin, Brian Hayes, has today (Monday) asked for an urgent meeting with the EU Commission to discuss the poor take up of the EU Cross Border Health Directive in Ireland.

Mr Hayes made the comments as figures show that over the last 12 months only 62 patients availed of the Directive in Ireland. Under the Directive patients have the right to receive medical treatment in another EU Member State. Much more needs to be done by the HSE to roll out this important EU health right.

“This European law allows a patient to avail of healthcare in a public or private facility in another EU country. You can recoup the costs of the treatment from the HSE. This has the potential to reduce waiting times for basic procedures.”

“Clearly not enough patients or doctors know about the Directive. This Directive was transposed into Irish law over 12 months ago.”

“I have seen an evaluation study of the Directive by KPMG submitted to the European Commission in March. This study paints a poor picture as to the take up and promotion of the Directive across the EU. The European Commission report pulls no punches saying that EU citizens are ‘not aware of the existence of National Contact Points.’ As evidence of this the evaluation study highlights thesmall number of information requests received by National Contact Points and the small number of reimbursement requests’.

“In Ireland the HSE run the National Contact Point. They have a website and phone number. This approach is too passive. That’s why I’m calling on the HSE to notify all those on waiting list of their rights directly.”

“I understand that since June 2014 only 62 applications were successful under this scheme. I am now asking the European Commission to give me the same information on every other Member State so we can compare the take up rate in Ireland.”

“Travelling to another country with a substantial outlay of costs may not be an option for all patients. But for others it could mean a life changing procedure. That’s why the HSE needs to explain to the public the potential behind the EU cross border health Directive.” concluded Mr. Hayes.

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