The Department of Health has announced that it has allocated a further £5m to continue to operate The Health Services Republic of Ireland Reimbursement Scheme beyond the original 30 June 2022 deadline for another year.
Introduced under the Elective Care Framework for an initial period of 12 months on 1 July 2021, the scheme provides an option for patients who are ordinary residents of Northern Ireland to access private treatment in the Republic of Ireland. The scheme is based on the EU Cross Border Healthcare Directive.
Patients who are on a waiting list for surgery or medical treatment through the National Health Service (NHS) or Health & Social Care (HSCNI) Board may wish to avail of the scheme. Once approved by the HSCNI Board, patients usually pay for treatment themselves and can be reimbursed afterwards for approximately 50-80% of these costs.
540 people have completed treatment under the scheme as of the end of February 2022, with over £3 million spent in reimbursing patients for the cost of treatment, according to data released by the Health and Social Care Board.
Common treatments include orthopaedic surgery, such as hip and knee replacements, cataract surgery and hernia repairs, according to the HSCB.
Mater Private Network are one of the leading hospital networks in the Republic of Ireland providing treatment under the scheme.
Speaking on the scheme renewal Mater Private Network CEO, David Slevin said, “I am very pleased that the scheme has been granted additional funding. The popularity of the scheme speaks for itself of the need for a programme like this and it only made sense to extend it further. Applications have grown and continue to grow with the long waiting lists in Northern Ireland. People should not have to wait unnecessarily with chronic pain. Anyone who might be waiting for a procedure in Northern Ireland should contact their local HSCNI services to see if they qualify for the scheme. Mater Private Network is standing by, ready with our team of specialists and patient coordinators in Dublin and Cork, to help patients on their journey back to good health”
New applications of the scheme are now being accepted. They will be processed in chronological order, and the scheme will continue under further funding has been committed.