The Treatment Abroad Scheme provides funding to allow Irish public patients get healthcare in other EU countries, the European Economic Area or Switzerland that is not available in Ireland.

It was introduced to ensure that all EU/EEA patients, including Irish patients, have access to the same level of medical expertise and treatments regardless of their state of residence.

Where treatments and remedies they need are available in the EU/EEA, but not in Ireland, or not available within a reasonable time frame, Irish patients may apply for funding under the TAS to travel for the treatment.

The Treatment Abroad Scheme is different to the Cross Border Healthcare scheme, which covers treatments that are publicly funded and available in Ireland.

In general, the Treatment Abroad Scheme covers treatments that are not available in Ireland.

You must be referred for treatment abroad by an Irish-based consultant who is treating you as a public patient. You cannot refer yourself or be referred by a GP.

You, and your referring consultant, must complete an application form and include a copy of your referral letter.

The HSE has produced a guide for consultants referring patients for funding under the Treatment Abroad Scheme.

Applications must be approved by the HSE before you travel or start treatment abroad.

The HSE says decisions on applications by letter usually take between 15 to 20 working days.

Details on the Treatment Abroad Scheme can be found here.