Health scheme "needs to be given a permanent status"

The Cross-Border Healthcare Directive that allows patients on waiting lists in the Republic get treatment in Northern Ireland must be continued a local Senator has urged. Fianna Fáil Senator Robbie Gallagher said access to the medical treatment in the North needs to be supported for border communities.

The Cross-Border Healthcare Directive entitles Irish patients waiting for surgery procedures in the Republic of Ireland to obtain treatment, in either a public or private setting, within Northern Ireland.

At present a temporary and comparable scheme has been put in place by Government in respect of residents of the Republic of Ireland seeking treatment in Northern Ireland, known as the Northern Ireland Planned Healthcare Scheme.

Senator Gallagher raised the issue at the Seanad Special Select Committee on the Withdrawal of the UK from the EU: “Under the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive, border communities have been able to access prompt medical care and treatment in Northern Ireland – accessing this healthcare in the same way you'd get public healthcare in the Republic of Ireland,” he said.

The Fianna Fáil representative says access to a range of assessments and treatment available across the border is essential: “The temporary scheme that has been introduced, the Northern Ireland Planned Healthcare Scheme, needs to be given a permanent status so that border communities can continue to access this crucial scheme,” concluded Senator Gallagher.