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Before you go to Northern Ireland


This content is currently being reviewed.

Before you have your healthcare in Northern Ireland:

  • make sure you are eligible for the NIPHS
  • consider applying for prior notification
  • check what medical records to bring with you
  • make sure you can pay the hospital in Northern Ireland directly

Check that you have followed the correct process to access healthcare under the Northern Ireland Planned Healthcare Scheme (NIPHS). If you do not follow the correct process, you may have to pay the full costs of your healthcare.

Getting prior notification for your healthcare

Prior notification is an optional process to confirm that you:

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

We usually take about 20 working days to decide on your application.

You must pay for any healthcare that you get with a private provider in Northern Ireland. But if you apply for prior notification, you’ll know around how much you can claim towards the cost and if there is a difference that you must pay.

What you can claim under the NIPHS

When to get prior notification for NIPHS

Prior notification is optional. But we recommend that you apply for it if you need inpatient care (an overnight stay in hospital).

You do not need prior notification for day-case healthcare.

Your treatment plan may change after you apply for prior notification. If this happens, you can only claim repayment for the healthcare you receive.

Applying for prior notification

To apply for prior notification you must send:

  • a valid referral
  • a completed prior notification form

Download the prior notification form (PDF, 872 KB, 19 pages)

Send the form and the supporting documents to:

Northern Ireland Planned Healthcare Scheme,
St Canice’s Hospital,
Co. Kilkenny

Contact the NIPHS about prior notification

Completing the notification form

You and your consultant in Northern Ireland must complete and sign the form before you have your inpatient treatment.

The consultant must enter the correct DRG (Diagnosis-Related Group) code for the treatment you are getting.

You can download a list of current costs and DRG codes for inpatient healthcare in Ireland.

Planning your payment to the hospital

You must make the payment directly to the healthcare provider. You cannot claim for healthcare costs if you make the payment to a third party.

Page last reviewed: 25 January 2022