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KARL | 22:52 Sat 08th Jun 2019 | How it Works
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I have heard of people taking three hour flights abroad to seek medical treatment at public and private clinics, then returning home and getting the bill and ancillary costs refunded by the state healthcare system (at home). The home and treatment countries are within the EEA (but neither is the UK, in the cases I have heard mentioned).

The much hated EU has set in motion the Cross-Border Healthcare Directive and its implementation was to start as early as 25th October, 2013. Shortcomings on implementation are the subject of follow-up by the EU. The intention is that all Europeans should have mobility in seeking healthcare.

Did you know of this ? Do you know how well the UK complies ? If the examples I have heard of in other countries have their counterparts in the UK then the chronic waiting list problems in the UK can be bypassed by going abroad and getting the NHS to pay. However, according to the information I have, currently only about 1000 people in the UK make use of this annually, suggesting obstructions and/or dragging of feet.

I recently heard of a UK patient who needs a hip replacement. She was referred to a physiotherapist but got no relief to speak of - box ticked. She was referred to a specialist who put her on the waiting list for surgery - box ticked. She went for the pre-op meeting and a date was set - box ticked. She went to hospital where she was being prepared for surgery until it was discovered that there was no bed for her, she was sent home (*box ticked). She eventually went for pre-op meeting number two where she was asked if she was on any medication. Yes, she said and explained what it was. Pity, then the operation can't go ahead (*box ticked).

*Box ticked: When surgery is postponed twice the patient goes back to the beginning again - she starts the physiotherapy sometime within the following three months to see if she gets relief and then after that .....

My wife has a knee problem and has been doing the rounds for nine months now. Could she and the lady in the story both go under the Directive to some decent country and get seen to without all this nonsense ? Always remembering that time is short, Brexit looms and the UK will become free of such underhand efficiency altogether.

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The answer to your question might depend upon what the NHS system sees as 'a medically justifiable time period'. That's because (quote) "If your application is for a treatment that requires prior authorisation, NHS England may still refuse your application if . . . the treatment can be provided on the NHS in a medically justifiable time period"
https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/going-abroad-for-treatment/what-is-the-eu-directive-route/
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WOW, Chris, that was quick - have you used this ??:) Just the sort of info I was looking for. Thanks.
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