THE CROSS-border health scheme, which has benefited many in Fermanagh but had fallen victim to Brexit, has been reinstated by the Executive in a bid to tackle ever-growing waiting lists.
As reported in the Herald earlier this year, the EU directive on cross-border health, which saw many local patients travel south for hip replacements and other procedures, had ended along with the UK’s membership of the EU on January, 1 this year.
While the government in the south quickly set up a replacement scheme which allowed its residents to continue to travel north for treatment, it wasn’t until Wednesday that Health Minister Robin Swann announced the replacement here.
A new directive called the ‘Republic of Ireland Reimbursement Scheme’ is a temporary replacement and subject to strict criteria, Mr Swann said.
“A key principle of our health service is that access to services is based on clinical need, not on an individual’s ability to pay,” said Minister Swann, “However, we are in exceptional times and we must look at every option to tackle the waiting lists in Northern Ireland.”
“Reinstating a limited version of the cross-border healthcare directive to Ireland will not have a dramatic impact on the overall waiting lists, but it will provide an opportunity for some to have their treatment much earlier.”
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