Fianna Fáil Senator Robbie Gallagher has received commitment that the cross-border health scheme will continue until a statutory scheme is in place.
As a result of Brexit, the EU cross-border directive ceased to apply in Northern Ireland. To mitigate this loss, the Government introduced the Northern Ireland planned healthcare scheme which has been in effective operation since 1 January of this year. Under this scheme persons resident in the State can access and be reimbursed for private healthcare in Northern Ireland by the HSE, provided such healthcare is publicly available within Ireland.
Senator Gallagher commented, “The Government moved swiftly last year to introduce an interim scheme, the Northern Ireland planned healthcare scheme, which allowed people in the Republic to avail of healthcare in Northern Ireland, or elsewhere in the EU, including operations and procedures that were available in the South. The scheme has continued, and it has proved to be very successful however there is now concern because that 12-month period is about to expire. People are asking what the future of the scheme will be, whether there will be one and who will be entitled to it.”
After raising the issue in the Seanad with the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Mary Butler, Senator Gallagher received commitment that the scheme would continue.
Senator Gallagher added, “I would like to thank Minister Butler for confirming that the scheme, which is operating successfully, will remain until a statutory scheme is in place. For individuals who find themselves languishing on waiting lists, many for long periods where their quality of life is severely affected, this is good news.”