Before you go abroad

Before you travel for healthcare abroad you should:

  • make sure you are eligible for the Cross Border Directive (CBD) scheme
  • consider giving us prior notification
  • consider getting your medical records to bring with you
  • make sure you have travel insurance

You should also read the guide on applying for Cross Border Directive repayment before you get healthcare abroad so you understand:

  • if the healthcare you're getting is covered under the CBD
  • how much of the healthcare cost you can claim back

Prior notification

When you give us prior notification, the Cross Border Directive office in Ireland can tell you if you:

  • have followed the correct process to access healthcare abroad under the CBD
  • will be eligible to claim repayment towards the cost of your healthcare

You do not have to give us prior notification. It is optional.

But if you are travelling abroad for inpatient care we advise you to give us prior notification. Inpatient care is treatment that involves an overnight stay in hospital. You do not need to give us prior notification if you are having day case treatment.

Benefits of prior notification

Before you travel abroad you’ll have:

  • confirmation that you're eligible to claim repayment towards the cost of your healthcare
  • an indication of how much of the cost of your healthcare you can claim back from us

It also gives you time to decide if you:

  • can afford the healthcare upfront or can secure the funding
  • are comfortable with the consultant and the hospital abroad
  • are willing to go ahead if there is a shortfall between the cost of the healthcare abroad and how much you can claim back from us. You will be responsible for paying the shortfall

How to give us prior notification

To give us prior notification you must submit:

  • a valid referral 
  • a completed notification form
  • proof that you have travelled abroad for your first appointment with the consultant, in person

Download the prior notification form (PDF, 270KB, 8 pages)

The notification form

You and your consultant must fully complete and sign the form.

The consultant must make a note of the correct DRG (Diagnosis-Related Group) code for the inpatient treatment you are getting. They must put this on the form.

The consultant can get the correct DRG code from the document called the Admitted Patient Price List Summary (Inpatient)' (PDF, 418KB, 13 pages).

This document will also help to give you an indication of how much you can claim back from us for the healthcare you receive.

Once you and your consultant have completed the prior notification form you must send it and the supporting documents to:

The National Contact Point Office
Cross Border Directive
St Canice’s Hospital
Co. Kilkenny

Decision on prior notification

We usually take about 20 working days to review your prior notification.

If we approve your application, you can go abroad to get your healthcare knowing you will be able to seek repayment towards the cost of the healthcare.

If your healthcare changes

On the day of your healthcare, your healthcare may change.

The consultant may decide you need:

  • extra healthcare
  • different healthcare

The actual healthcare you have may be different from the one you gave us prior notification for.

If this happens, you will only be eligible to be repaid for the actual healthcare you get.

If you don't give us prior notification

You do not need to give us prior notification to access healthcare abroad under the CBD. Prior notification is optional.

You can still get healthcare and claim repayment towards the cost of that healthcare once you are eligible and meet certain conditions

Read about what conditions you must meet to claim repayment under the CBD

Medical records

You might need to provide your healthcare provider abroad with your current medical records.

You should bring your records with you as well as information on any medicine you’re taking and any relevant test results.

Check with the GP or consultant who referred you or the doctor who’s treating you abroad about what information you need to bring.

Ask your GP or hospital in Ireland for your medical records.

Find out how to access your medical records

Travel insurance

We recommend that you take out travel insurance before you go abroad.

You should also take your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) with you.

The EHIC does not cover the cost of your healthcare under the CBD. But it will cover some other healthcare unrelated to your CBD treatment if you need them.


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Page last reviewed: 8 November 2018
Next review due: 8 November 2021