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HSE spending on EU Cross Border Health increased by 350% in the last year – Hayes

HSE spending on EU Cross Border Health increased by 350% in the last year – Hayes

Dublin MEP, Brian Hayes has today (Sunday) said that Irish citizens receiving medical treatment under the EU Cross Border Healthcare Directive has cost the HSE €2.2 million in 2016, an increase of over 350% from 2015. The Fine Gael MEP was commenting on figures he obtained through the HSE on the EU Cross Border Healthcare Directive, which allows EU citizens to obtain medical treatment in other EU Member States.

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“Last year the HSE spent €2.2 million on cross border healthcare treatment. In contrast, in 2015 just under €500,000 was spent. This represents an increase of over 350%. This figure is likely to increase further as invoices for the last quarter of 2016 are still being processed. It is also likely to increase as more and more doctors are made aware of the Directive.”

“1,738 Irish citizens availed of cross border treatments last year compared to 995 in 2015. The majority of services that are provided by the HSE in Ireland can be availed of under the Cross Border Directive such as orthodontics services, mental health services and acute hospital services. The cost of the service is covered by the HSE up to a maximum that the treatment would cost on the public health system in Ireland.”

“The Cross Border Healthcare Directive came into force in June 2014. Since then over 2,800 Irish citizens have availed of the EU right. Northern Ireland accounted for over 40% of the treatments last year followed by Poland. Citizens have also travelled to Austria, Spain, Estonia and Latvia.”

“Given the high percentage that travel from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland to avail of treatment under this Directive, I am very concerned of the implications that Brexit will have on patients’ rights. 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.”

“Travelling to another EU Member State for medical treatment should be the last option for patients waiting for procedures. However, the EU Cross Border Healthcare Directive is a good example of EU collaboration for patients who need urgent treatments,” concluded MEP Hayes.

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