Published Friday, February 8th, 2019 at 12:39 pm
The Mater Private Hospital’s clinic in Drogheda is currently experiencing a major increase in Orthopaedic appointments by Northern Ireland residents wishing to avail of fast-track care.
Up until recently, a relatively small number of residents in Northern Ireland have opted for Orthopaedic care under the EU’s Cross-Border healthcare directive, which allows them to avoid the long HSC (NI) waiting lists. However, Brexit could prevent other NI residents from also being able to avail of the directive in future, which is why many more people are now making appointments. This is especially the case with Mater Private Hospital’s Drogheda clinic, which due to its accessibility from the M1, is receiving patients from all over Ulster for appointments.
The hospital’s team of skilled Orthopaedic and Spine Surgeons, who specialise in spine surgery, including high acuity/complexity hip replacement and knee replacement surgeries, can quickly see patients for clinical assessment once they have a referral from either their GP or NI consultant.
A form, known as a HSC application, is then signed off at the consultation, with approval guaranteed in less than 20 days. Patients can then ring the Mater Private Hospital in Dublin to confirm approval and booking for the surgery.
Recently Mater Private patient Myles Magowan, who had a hip operation under the Healthcare Directive, spoke about his experience, “I was in significant pain and my quality of life was deteriorating by the month when the NHS informed me that I would have to wait over two years for an operation to replace my right hip. The news left me feeling completely dejected, but through my own research I found out about the Cross-border Healthcare Directive. While the EU Directive provided me with the option of getting the operation done outside of Northern Ireland, my initial telephone call with the team at the Mater Private confirmed my decision to choose Dublin without any doubt.
To my delight, the hospital offered me a Consultation appointment the following day and one month later I travelled to Dublin from my home in Belfast for a pre-op assessment. In short, I was totally impressed with the service and could not have asked for better treatment. The staff at the hospital are wonderful and they made me feel like a VIP. The NHS let me down when I needed help the most, but I would have no hesitation in recommending the Mater Private, who went above and beyond clinical care.”
What is the Cross-Border Directive?
The cross-border directive was introduced by the European Parliament to better define the rights of EU citizens when seeking treatment in member states other than their own. Under the directive, Northern Ireland residents, who are currently on a waiting list for orthopaedic or spine surgery through a HSC Board may be eligible for the Cross Border Directive. The Cross-Border Directive allows a patient to travel to another EU country and receive care in that country, which is paid for initially by the patient and refunded by the HSC.
The Mater Private Hospital in Dublin (easily accessible from the M1 and Connolly Station) has expert consultant surgeons who can provide the orthopaedic and spine care that you need.
Mater Private’s Cross Border Initiative offering is designed with your needs in mind:
• Fixed price guaranteed and pre-approved by the HSC
• Expert consultant surgeons with extensive training in prestigious international training centres
• The highest quality medical back up including full cardiology and intensive care back up - making it one of the safest hospitals for patients undergoing major operations.
What impact will Brexit have on the Cross-Border Directive?
The Irish and UK Governments have stated their commitment to maintaining the reciprocal rights of access to healthcare for both Irish and UK citizens to publicly funded health services. However, technical discussions involving the Departments of Health from Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK on how to maintain these arrangements post-Brexit are ongoing.
In the meantime, it is important to emphasise that at present there are no changes to patient care, as the UK continues to be a full member of the EU. Indeed, until the UK formally withdraws from the European Union, it remains a full member with all of its existing rights and obligations.
What is the process from application to post surgery?
The following is the process for your patients to access the Cross-Border Directive:
1. Letter of referral from either GP or NI Consultant
2. Patient attends appointment with Consultant in Mater Private Dublin for clinical assessment. The HSC application form is signed off in this consultation, accepting the care and providing expert opinion for length of stay and procedure needed. This first consultation is free of charge
3. Patient submits the form to HSC
4. Approval is guaranteed in less than 20 days
5. Patient can ring Mater Private Dublin to confirm approval and will be in booked for surgery
6. Pre-Operative assessment and theatre is booked within 6 weeks of the above phone call
7. Post-Operative consultation will take place 6 weeks after surgery
Whom can I contact to confirm my eligibility?
NationalContactPoint@hscni.net - email contact for patients to request eligibility.
For further information on our Cross Border Directive:
Tel: 0345 939 0001 (for UK queries) 1800 80 42 22 (for ROI queries)
Email: email@example.com (UK or ROI queries)