Date lodged: 4 December 2018
To ask the Scottish Government how much has been spent by each NHS board in each of the last five years on reimbursing patients who have had operations abroad as a result of waiting list delays.
Answered by: Jeane Freeman 18 December 2018
Under the European Cross-border Healthcare Directive (“The Directive”), UK citizens, including Scots, have a right to travel in the European Economic Area (EEA) for planned healthcare.
Patients may choose to travel using the Directive for treatment in EEA countries that is the same as or equivalent to state treatment available at home. They must pay the costs upfront to the healthcare provider in the country concerned and are reimbursed by their local healthcare provider (in Scotland their local NHS Board) up to the amount the treatment would have cost the NHS.
Around 30 people a year travel from Scotland to other EEA countries for treatment using the provisions in the Directive. The cost of reimbursements will vary depending on the procedures received and is a matter for local NHS Boards.
Individuals are exercising their EU rights and do not have to indicate why they have chosen to be treated elsewhere in the EEA.
There are no arrangements whereby patients who choose to travel outside the EEA for treatment can be reimbursed by the NHS on their return to Scotland.