40% of Irish Cross border treatments carried out in Northern Ireland in 2016
Early clarification needed on Irish Citizens health rights post Brexit
Dublin MEP, Brian Hayes has today (Tuesday) said that the Government needs to seek clarification at an early stage of the Brexit negotiations on Irish citizens EU healthcare rights. The Fine Gael MEP made the call following confirmation he received from the HSE that 692 Irish citizens availed of treatment under the EU cross border healthcare directive in Northern Ireland last year. This accounts for 40% of the total cross border applications.
“Under the EU Cross Border Healthcare Directive, Irish citizens are entitled to receive medical treatment in other EU Member States with the costs reimbursed by the HSE. In 2016, 1,738 procedures were carried out in other EU Member States at a cost of over €2 million. 40% of these were for treatment in Northern Ireland.
“The Government needs to seek clarification on this right post Brexit. The Directive does not cover the cost of travel so for Irish citizens; treatment in Northern Ireland is really the only cost effective option. Ireland is at a significant disadvantage as compared to other EU countries such as France whose citizens can easily access Belgium, Netherlands or Germany.”
“I firmly believe in order to protect this EU right for Irish Citizens; treatment in Northern Ireland should continue to be eligible after the UK leaves the EU. Since the Directive came into force in June 2014 the number of applications have increased significantly. In 2015, 995 treatments were carried out compared to 1,738 last year.
If the option of treatment in Northern Ireland was removed, this EU right would be diminished enormously for Irish citizens,” concluded MEP Hayes.