Treatment Abroad Scheme

Introduction

If you are a public healthcare patient and require treatment that is not available to you in Ireland, you may be able to use the Treatment Abroad Scheme to get the treatment in another country in the European Union (EU), the European Economic Area (the EEA also includes Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) or Switzerland.

Treatment that is available in Ireland may be accessed abroad under the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive.

Rules

To qualify for the Treatment Abroad Scheme, you must need medical treatment that is not available in Ireland or, taking account of your medical circumstances, is not available within the time normally necessary to obtain it. It must be a treatment that comes under the benefits provided for in Irish law. Unproven, experimental or test treatments are not covered.

The treatment you have abroad must be in public healthcare under a registered medical practitioner in a recognised hospital or other institution that accepts form S2 (also known as E112). Form S2 authorises treatment abroad so that the patient does not have to make any payment to the healthcare provider.

You must provide confirmation of every appointment you are due to attend so that the Health Service Executive (HSE) can issue an S2 form that will cover the cost of your visit. If you don’t have the document at your appointment, you may be charged and not be refunded.

Additional treatments or associated examinations or consultations which may arise while you are abroad, but have not been pre-approved, will not be covered.

The Treatment Abroad Scheme may provide assistance with travel costs for the patient and a travelling companion, where appropriate.

How to apply

You must be referred for treatment abroad by an Irish-based consultant who is treating you as a public patient. You cannot refer yourself or be referred by a GP.

You, and your referring consultant, must complete an application form and include a copy of your referral letter. The HSE has produced a guide for consultants referring patients for funding under the Treatment Abroad Scheme (pdf).

Your application must be approved by the HSE before you travel or start treatment abroad. You will get a decision on your application by letter, usually within 15 to 20 working days. If your application is not approved, you will be told the reasons and given information on how to appeal the decision.

Where to apply

For an application form, contact the Treatment Abroad Scheme Office on the relevant contact number below.

For child patients of the following hospitals, the contact number is 056 778 4553: Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin; Children’s University Hospital, Temple Street; The National Children’s Hospital, Tallaght.

For other patients, the contact number depends on the county you live in:

Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow 056 778 4059
Cork, Kerry, Carlow, Kilkenny, South Tipperary, Wexford, Waterford, Meath 056 778 4593
Galway, Donegal, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, Cavan, Monaghan, Louth 056 778 4554
Clare, Limerick, North Tipperary 056 778 4579
Laois, Longford, Offaly, Westmeath 056 778 4548
Page edited: 25 November 2015