Bus to Belfast to Stay on the Road – Deputy Michael Healy Rae

Kerry patients getting on the bus after their cataract removal procedures in Belfast last week.

Deputy Michael Healy Rae has welcomed the assurances of the Department of Health that the Northern Ireland Planned Healthcare Scheme (NI PHS) which has been in effective operation since January 1st 2021 will remain in place until a new a statutory scheme is put in place.

“What this will mean to so many of my constituents is that they can continue to avail of this scheme for treatments for cataract removals by travelling from Kerry by bus to Belfast,” said Deputy Healy Rae.

“It will mean that they can get treated in a timely fashion and get back to living their lives in a healthy manner.

Government Seeing Sense

“I’m delighted that the government has seen the good sense to help continue this scheme and I’m delighted that the pressure of representation that I have brought to this scheme will see it continue,” he added.

The Kerry deputy avails of this service for his constituents on a regular basis and many of these people were concerned that the scheme may come to an end due to Brexit.

The scheme was first introduced to mitigate the loss of access to care from private providers in Northern Ireland under the EU Cross Border Directive, which ceased to apply as a result of Brexit.

Examination of Options

However, the Government intends to place the administrative NI PHS on a statutory basis.

“An extensive examination of options to inform the drafting of a general scheme is currently underway with confirmation that the administrative scheme will remain until such time that a statutory scheme is in place.

“Patients will also continue to have access to health services under the EU Cross Border Directive Scheme in all other remaining EU/EEA countries,” Deputy Healy Rae concluded.

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