Preparing to go abroad for healthcare

Before you travel abroad for planned healthcare:

If you do not follow the correct process, you will have to pay the full costs of your treatment.

Arranging your outpatient consultation abroad

When you have a referral letter, you must contact a healthcare provider abroad. This is to make an appointment with them. It is called an outpatient consultation.

You must have the consultation on a date before the healthcare provider admits you for treatment.

This gives you time to decide if you:

  • are comfortable with the consultant and the hospital abroad
  • want to proceed with healthcare at a date in the future
  • have any questions before you go ahead

Travel, telemedicine and the CBD

Telemedicine is when you get a diagnosis, treatment or consultation using communication technology. For example, by Zoom, Skype or video call.

Inpatient healthcare

If you are having inpatient care, you must have your outpatient appointment in person on a date prior to being admitted.

If you use telemedicine instead of an in-person appointment, you cannot get a reimbursement for any of your healthcare costs.

Day-case healthcare

You can use telemedicine for outpatient consultations for day-case healthcare.

HSE guidelines on video and audio consultations - April 2020 (PDF, 597KB, 12 pages)

To claim reimbursement for a telemedicine consultation, you must send proof of the consultation from your medical record.

The reimbursement rate for telemedicine consultations is €178.

Medical records you may need

When you go abroad you should bring:

  • your medical records
  • information on any medicines you’re taking
  • any relevant test results

To find out what information you need to bring you can ask:

  • your GP or consultant in Ireland
  • the doctor who will treat you abroad

Ask your GP or hospital in Ireland for a copy of the records you need to bring.

Planning your payment to the hospital abroad

You must pay the hospital abroad for your healthcare and keep proof of the payment.

Before you make a payment, check that you can pay the hospital abroad directly.

You cannot claim reimbursement if:

  • someone else makes the payment on your behalf - for example, a relative or friend
  • you make the payment to a medical tourism company instead of the hospital abroad

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Page last reviewed: 5 October 2022
Next review due: 5 October 2025