Accessing medical treatment abroad

In This Section

As an Irish resident, you have the right to medical treatment in any other EU or EEA country. There is also an arrangement with Northern Ireland called the Northern Ireland Planned Healthcare Scheme.

The HSE will cover part or all of the costs for treatment, but will not cover travel or accommodation expenses.

You will usually have to pay for the treatment yourself, then claim it back.

It’s good to make sure that you are following the right process, so you are advised to check with the National Contact Point before arranging medical care.


Phone: 056 7784546


Further information:

Your GP (or hospital consultant) can refer to any public or private healthcare provider, acute or community, who has the appropriate expertise.

You have to be on a ‘public patient pathway’ in order to access cross border healthcare, so if you’ve gone to a private consultant for a diagnosis, you need to go back to your GP to get a referral.  You can’t be referred for cross-border care by a health professional who you are seeing privately.

You can make the choice to have healthcare somewhere else in the EU – you don’t have to be on a waiting list first. (Realistically, people are likely to get treatment close to home if it’s available, so the scheme tends to be used for relatively straightforward treatments where there is a long waiting list in Ireland.)

GPs can only refer for treatment that would normally be provided in Ireland.

If you need a new type of treatment which is not yet available in Ireland, contact the cross border directive office to discuss.

In order to use the scheme, people must:

  • be resident in Ireland (living in Ireland and can prove they intend to live in Ireland for at least 1 year)
  • be entitled to public healthcare in Ireland
  • qualify for the healthcare they want as a public patient in Ireland
  • have a valid referral letter
  • follow the CBD process

There are some differences in regulations and processes for planned and unplanned treatment, but the cross border directive office (info above) will be happy to advise.