By Michelle Crean

 

The Cross Border Directive, which entitles Irish patients waiting for surgery in the Republic to obtain treatment in Northern Ireland, is to end next month. Deputy Danny Healy-Rae says that he has today (Tuesday) been contacted by the CEO of Kingsbridge Private Hospital in Belfast to say that “the HSE are advising patients that they will not be able to use the Cross Border directive in N. Ireland as of January 1 next”.

Any patients who have already started their journey will be able to continue but no new patients will be accepted after January 1, 2021.

“That’s the official line as of today,” the Kerry TD said.

“I am disgusted and horrified that the Taoiseach is playing politics with this important scheme which many people have availed of over the years. Those people who travelled to Belfast for cataracts, tonsil removal, hip and knee replacements would otherwise have waited years to have the procedure done on the public system here. I was glad that I was able to arrange the trips to Belfast for cataract procedures for the many people who were able to save their sight and have the costs refunded under the Cross Border Directive.  It will now be back to the old story again as they won’t be able to go to the North anymore.”

He explained that there are are still some places left on buses to Belfast during December for anyone interested in getting their cataract procedure done.

“I urge anyone waiting to be called for the procedure to contact me for a place on one of the last buses.”

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