Healthcare arrangements

Both the Irish and British Governments are committed to maintaining, in so far as possible, the current healthcare arrangements under the Common Travel Area (CTA).

Ireland and the UK are part of the CTA.

The CTA means that Irish and UK residents can move freely between the two countries to:

  • live
  • work
  • access public services - including healthcare

On 30 December 2020, the EU and the UK signed the Trade and Cooperation Agreement. This provides a framework for access to healthcare to continue for people resident in Ireland who are working, visiting or residing in the UK from 1 January 2021. This includes planned treatment and necessary healthcare.

Cooperation between North and South

The HSE EU and North-South Unit contributes to the health and wellbeing of people living in the border region and beyond. It enables better access to health and social care services. It does this through North-South, all-island and multi-country work.

The Co-operation and Working Together (CAWT) partnership between health services North and South has been in place for over 25 years.

This partnership includes the HSE, the Western and Southern Health and Social Care Trusts, Public Health Agency Northern Ireland and Health and Social Care Board in Northern Ireland.

This work continues.

North-South access to health services

These services are often arranged through service level agreements and include:

  • All-Island Paediatric Cardiology services
  • North West Cancer Centre, Altnagelvin Hospital, Derry
  • Cross-border Percutaneous Coronary Intervention Services

The Irish and UK governments are committed to continuing North-South arrangements.

Cross Border Directive scheme

You can continue to access healthcare in other EU and European Economic Area (EEA) states and Switzerland under the Cross Border Directive (CBD) scheme.

To access the scheme you must:

  • be ‘ordinarily resident’ in Ireland (living here and intend to live here for at least one year)
  • not getting a state benefit from another EU and EEA state

Under the scheme, you must pay upfront for any healthcare that you get. You can then apply to the HSE for reimbursement towards the cost of the healthcare.

Read more about the Cross Border Directive (CBD) scheme

UK and Northern Ireland

You can no longer use the CBD to access healthcare in the UK.

But if you have started your healthcare in the UK and began to receive that healthcare before 2021, you may still be able to apply for reimbursement under the HSE Cross Border Directive.

Read more about applying for reimbursement if you started getting healthcare in the UK

Treatment Abroad Scheme

As a public patient, you can apply to the Treatment Abroad Scheme (TAS) to be referred for treatment that is not available in Ireland, but is available in the public health system in:

  • another country in the EU
  • another country in the EEA or Switzerland

Unlike the CBD scheme, you don’t have to pay upfront for the treatment.

Read more about the Treatment Abroad Scheme (TAS)

More information

Visit the Department of Health website for Brexit health-related information.

Email any HSE-related Brexit questions to