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About the Cross Border Directive

You can get healthcare in other EU and EEA member states under the Cross Border Directive (CBD) if you’re ‘ordinarily resident’ in Ireland.

Ordinarily resident means that you've been living in Ireland for at least one year.

It's free to apply to get CBD treatment but you must pay for any CBD treatment you get.

You then apply to us (the HSE) to be repaid the treatment cost after your return to Ireland.

You will be reimbursed the cost of your treatment abroad or the cost the treatment would have cost in Ireland, whichever is the lesser.

How to qualify for the Cross Border Directive

CBD treatment is only available to Irish residents who qualify for public health care. You can’t get CBD treatment if you’re a private patient in Ireland.

But you can get CBD treatment if you have private health insurance so long as you haven’t used it for your referral for healthcare abroad.

You must travel abroad. You can not use telemedicine, for example an outpatient consultation abroad by Skype or video, at any time during the CBD process.

Only a GP or a consultant you are attending in a public capacity can refer you for CBD treatment.

Types of treatment

You can get healthcare in the EU or EEA if that healthcare is also available publicly in Ireland. Your GP or consultant can tell you if the treatment you want to get abroad is publicly available in Ireland.

Examples of healthcare that is available under the scheme include:

  • day, inpatient and outpatient care in acute hospital services, including psychiatric services
  • community-based out-patient care
  • dental and orthodontic services (with some exceptions, such as dental screening services in schools)
  • speech and language services
  • occupational therapy services (with some exceptions, such as assessment for aids at home)
  • psychology services
  • physiotherapy services
  • disability services
  • ophthalmic services
  • mental health services
  • methadone programme
  • addiction care

You can not get these types of healthcare under the CBD:

  • organ transplants
  • any long-term care that helps people do everyday tasks such as nursing home care
  • vaccination against infectious diseases
  • clinical trials
  • drug therapies that aren't currently provided publicly in Ireland

Where you can get CBD treatment

You can get CBD treatment in any EU or EEA member state.

You can choose to get the CBD treatment in the public or private sector abroad.

We recently updated this content. See the original version here

Page last reviewed: 08/11/2018
Next review due: 08/11/2021