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Relief for 18,500 patients on Letterkenny waiting list 23.06.15

SOME 18,500 patients on waiting lists for treatment at Letterkenny General Hospital have been urged to consider travelling across the border or to another EU country for treatment.
Independent MEP Marian Harkin said the implementation of the European Cross Border Healthcare Directive means the HSE will pay for treatments for Donegal patients who are currently enduring lengthy waiting list for both in-patient and out-patient procedures.
“It almost seems to be a well kept secret that the HSE is obliged to fund treatments in Northern Ireland or throughout the EU that are already available in the Republic. This can mean much shorter or no waiting times for patients who are on waiting lists," said Ms Harkin.
Letterkenny General Hospital.
"Ireland had been slow to adopt the European Cross Border Healthcare Directive but it was now available for all and patients from Donegal could access treatments even if they were not currently on waiting lists.
“For those who have been, and will continue to be, on lengthy waiting lists the Cross Border Health Directive affords a significantly better opportunity for treatment by healthcare experts with consequent enhancement of their well being and quality of life," she added.
The scheme requires patients to initially fund their travel expenses, and payment for treatment, but the HSE has to pay for the treatment on receipt of the invoice, said Ms Harkin.
There are certain rules and regulations, but nothing excessive, and member states have a duty under EU law to facilitate patients who apply, she added.
She also said she would make a proposal to credit unions to provide up-front funding, with appropriate conditions, to ensure everyone could avail of the medical opportunity.
The HSE national contact point for the Cross Border Healthcare Directive is in Kilkenny, telephone 056 7784546.
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