AF Association
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EU cross border healthcare

For those of us in areas not covered by the Choose and Book scheme (I'm in Northern Ireland), and at the mercy of locally available ablation treatment and waiting lists, this scheme seems almost too good to be true. Below is a quote from today's Belfast Telegraph article which dealt with it in the light of NI's health care crisis at the moment. (I think that 'treatment' means surgical intervention.)

"A spokeswoman for the Health and Social Care Board confirmed patients could be treated for their condition outside Northern Ireland and then be reimbursed.

She said: "The EU directive on cross-border healthcare route is used when an individual seeks access to treatment in another European Economic Area country or Switzerland in either the state or private sectors."

Has anyone used this facility for any type of surgery?

6 Replies

Finvola, patients from North Wales and the Isle of Man all attend the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital at Broadgreen, Liverpool. It is a very short taxi ride from Liverpool Airport.

My EP is Dr Derrick Todd. My ablation was done by Dr Richard Snowdon. I don't think that you will find better when it's your turn!

Very best wishes.


Thank you jennydog. I was amazed at the statistics over here - 400,000 patients waiting for appointments/treatment/referral and only 14 had been able to take advantage of this directive, either because they didn't meet criteria or their GP's had never heard of it. Had I waited for my routine EP referral on the NHS, the wait would have been 16 months.

I think the difficulty in seeking treatment in England might lie in the fact that NI and England are in the UK and therefore perhaps in the same EU country. You are lucky to be able to take advantage of such a facility as LHCH.

1 like

I had my gall bladder out in Portugal in 2005 while on holiday. All went very well.

For AF the place to go is Bordeaux according to one cardio they are world experts there but don't know how you would get on their waiting list if it wasn't an emergency.


We've had hospital treatment in Holland and Germany but that was also on holiday. This initiative allows your physician in your own country to arrange treatment across the EU - including Bordeaux (if only!), subject to certain restrictions. It became law in England in 2011 and in NI in 2013, I think.


I live in South Wales. You can go to a hospital in England if:

1. The local hospitals don't do the procedure and the nearest one that does is in England, as with Jenny dog.

2.your condition is life threatening and you can't wait on a list.

Therefore, in my case, since the procedure is done in Cardiff and is not immediately life threatening I had to have the ablation done there,as the Welsh N.H.S. would not fund anywhere else. So far I have been pleased with my treatment but it is not a centre where lots of ablation are performed and if I had a choice I would have chosen one of the hospitals that are a centre of excellence for this. If you live in North Wales you are sent to Liverpool which is an excellent place to go so although it is a trek you are in very good hands. I don't know how it works for northern Ireland but I would have thought you should have access to England's hospitals. Good luck. It is a problem isn't it.x


I think the same conditions apply in NI as you have described dedeottie. Patients are referred to centres of excellence in England only in dire emergency where treatment isn't available here and the condition is life threatening. Most of the publicity I have seen refers to children's illnesses.


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