Types of healthcare available

There is no list of specific healthcare you can get abroad under Cross Border Directive (CBD) scheme.

Generally, if the healthcare is available publicly in Ireland, you can be referred for the same healthcare abroad.

Your GP or consultant can tell you if the healthcare you want to get abroad is publicly available in Ireland and if you qualify for it.

Healthcare available under CBD

Examples of healthcare available under the CBD scheme:

  • day, inpatient and outpatient care in acute hospital services, including psychiatric services
  • community-based outpatient 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 (eyes, cataracts) services 
  • orthopaedic (hip replacements) services
  • mental health services
  • methadone programme
  • addiction care

Healthcare not available under CBD

Examples of healthcare you can’t get under the CBD include:

  • 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

Orthodontic treatment

Orthodontic treatment can be used to help straighten your teeth. It's usually done by fitting braces. A full course of treatment usually takes 18 months to 2 years. You'll then have to wear retainers for period of time.

Orthodontic treatment is available under the Cross Border Directive (CBD). But you have to be eligible for the same public treatment in Ireland.

To be eligible here you must be assessed and approved for treatment by the HSE Orthodontic Service. Your local HSE dental service can refer you for this assessment. Your HSE Orthodontic Service will tell you if you are eligible. Usually, only children under the age of 16 are eligible.

If you are eligible for public treatment here, you can get treatment under the CBD. You'll need to show us a letter to confirm you are eligible. Your regional HSE Orthodontic Service can give you this.

You can claim to be reimbursed of the cost of your healthcare abroad up to a maximum of €2,200. For example, if your treatment abroad costs €5,000, you can claim €2,200. If its costs €1,000, you can claim €1,000.

The maximum reimbursements for each stage are:

  • assessment for eligibility for orthodontic treatment: €100
  • orthodontic treatment: €2,100 – reimbursed only when treatment is completed and the retainer phase has ended

You must get your treatment outside the Republic of Ireland, in another EU or EEA member state. This is the same as any healthcare under the CBD.

Prescriptions from abroad

You cannot claim through CBD for the cost of any prescription medicines you need after your healthcare.

The Drugs Payment Scheme (DPS) helps with the cost of prescribed medicines and some appliances. There is no means test for a DPS card.

But if you get a prescription from a healthcare provider abroad, you should be able to use it here if it is valid.


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Page last reviewed: 2 September 2019
Next review due: 2 September 2022