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Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs

What is Healthcare Abroad?

Healthcare Abroad is an Irish cross-border healthcare service, that helps people by-pass long waiting lists to receive free care in EU Countries, under the EU Cross-Border Healthcare Directive.

What do Healthcare Abroad do?

  • We locate the best hospitals, surgeons that are the right fit for your requirements.
  • We assist you with gathering pre travel requirements, like blood tests, scans, GP referral letter, etc.
  • We liaise with your GP and diagnostic centre to gather your pre travel medical documents
  • We organise your hotel and travel booking
  • We meet you in all Irish airports before departure and EU Airports on arrival
  • We provide transfers from the airport to your hotel and hospital
  • We look after all your paperwork
  • We liaise with the HSE on your behalf and ensure your refund application form is submitted

What is the EU Cross Border directive?

The EU Cross-Border Healthcare Directive is an equalisation of healthcare across Europe and allows an EU citizen to travel to another EU country for treatment, and their home government will issue a refund for the cost of this treatment.

What is the criteria for me to qualify for this scheme?

Every citizen is entitled to use the cross border directive whether you have health insurance or a medical card you don’t need to be on a waiting list.

This scheme is available to any person that would be entitled to treatment in an Irish hospital. You simply need a referral letter from your GP.

What procedures are covered

Under the EU Cross-Border Healthcare Directive scheme, the HSE will provide a refund for the patient’s consultation, treatment and rehabilitation, when they receive this treatment in another EU country, and up to the amount it would cost the HSE to perform this treatment in Ireland.

See full HSE admitted patient price list. And Day case procedure list

How long does it take to get my refund?

It may take up to 14 weeks on receipt of the completed application and all supporting documentation.

Do I need diagnostics before travelling?

The diagnostics depends on the type of treatment you need. We will organise X Rays, MRI scans, ECGs and blood tests, where necessary.

Can I access aftercare in Ireland?

While you are abroad, you will visit the hospital for dressing changes and follow up consultation before you travel home.

After you return home to Ireland, you are under the care of the HSE.

Click here to see a short HSE video that explains the process.

Additional FAQs

Who will contact my GP to provide list about my pre travel assessment?

Healthcare Abroad will contact your GP to gather any information required before your journey.

Do I need to contact my GP for blood test results or medical history?

Healthcare Abroad will engage directly with your GP to gather the required information as part of your pre travel assessment.

How do I engage with my local Credit Union to arrange a loan?

Healthcare Abroad will engage your local Credit Union to explain how the Cross Border Directive Scheme works before you contact them.

Who schedules my consultant and hospital appointments?

Healthcare Abroad will schedule all your appointments and share this with you.

Who will complete HSE refund application form?

Healthcare Abroad will complete your HSE refund application form and ensure all the required documentation (boarding passes, hotel receipts, hospital invoices, etc.) are included.

Do I need travel insurance?

You can apply for the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), which will allow you to receive treatment in a public hospital free of charge for any emergency.

Travel insurance policies offer other benefits to help with lost luggage, stolen valuables, etc., but this is not necessary for medical emergencies if you have the EHIC.

Do all patients travel alone?

About 50% of patients travel with companions. Some patients travel with partners, spouses, children, or friends. We meet you at the airport and provide all your transport needs, so you don’t need to travel with a companion. We will take good care of you.

I have a British passport. Will this cause a problem with travelling?

You can travel with a British passport, but you should bring along proof of Irish residency, like your Irish drivers license, utility bill, or bank statements.

Can I get an appointment letter from the hospital?

Yes, an appointment letter is emailed to you a few days before you begin your journey.

When will I get my Spanish Travel form?

The Spanish Travel form is no longer required when entering Spain as long as you have an in date EU digital vaccination Certificate.

Where do I go when I arrive at the airport?

One of our Healthcare Abroad team will meet you in the Airport at the disability area (OCS) on the departures level. Please arrive 2.5 hours before departure. Please call us if you cannot find this area.

Will there be someone there to meet me? How do I get to my hotel?

There will be a member of staff from Healthcare Abroad who will drive you to and from your hotel – you will also be driven to and from your hospital appointments

What accommodation is booked for me?

Your accommodation will be booked by Healthcare Abroad depending on your needs such as which hospital you will be staying and depending on your surgery.

What is the name of the hospital I will be attending?

The name of the hospital you will be staying will be tailored to you and discussed before travelling.

What do I need to return to Ireland from Spain?

  1. Check in for your flights and get boarding passes (on your phone or we can print for you). Your return boarding passes need to be added to your HSE refund application file.

If you have Any Problems?

Contact The Healthcare Abroad Team.


Landline: +353 (1) 267 8011