Patients travelling outside Northern Ireland for treatment
If you wish to receive medical treatment outside Northern Ireland, it’s important to understand how it works and the assistance you may be able to access.
This guidance applies to patients who are travelling outside Northern Ireland to access healthcare assessment and/or treatment. It is not relevant for travel within Northern Ireland for health and social care services.
Note: your Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) is for emergency treatment that becomes necessary while you are outside the UK. It does not cover planned treatment – also known as elective treatment.
(Please note that the summary details given here are not exhaustive and you are strongly urged to contact the SPPG for advice before travelling or arranging any treatment. Your entitlement to financial reimbursement will depend on the route used.)
There are two main ways by which patients may receive planned (not emergency) treatment outside Northern Ireland:
Also known as an Extra Contractual Referral (ECR) and occurs when the SPPG approves a consultant’s request to transfer a patient to a provider outside Northern Ireland for assessment or treatment which the consultant considers necessary but which is not available through HSC (i.e. NHS) facilities locally.
Travel for Planned Treatment under Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) between the European Union and the UK of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Article SSC.18), known as the S2 or E112 route.
RoI Cross Border Reimbursement Scheme
The Republic of Ireland Cross Border Reimbursement Scheme closed to new applicants at 5pm on Wednesday 21 September 2022. Applications received on or before that time will be processed in chronological order. Those received after this will not be considered. Further information about the Scheme.
National Contact Point
If you are a resident in Northern Ireland seeking to travel elsewhere for treatment or, alternatively, if you are a non-resident interested in treatment in Northern Ireland please contact:
National Contact Point
Patient Travel Team
Strategic Planning and Performance Group
12 – 22 Linenhall Street
Belfast BT2 8BS
Telephone: +44 (0)28 9536 3152
Patient Travel Office
The Strategic Planning and Performance Group (SPPG) has a Patient Travel Office which provides assistance for approved patients who are travelling outside Northern Ireland for planned treatment.
If you are travelling for planned treatment outside Northern Ireland contact the SPPG patient travel office. Patient Travel Officers can provide you with assistance and advice:
T: 0300 555 0116