A Killarney man has told of his experiences after he flew to Spain to get free treatment for a horror injury sustained in a soccer derby game at home.
Dad-of-three Rory O’Sullivan, (38), returned to Kerry this week after undergoing surgery for the ACL injury at a hospital in the seaside city of Dénia. The facility used by patients travelling with Healthcare Abroad is dubbed “the Irish hospital” by Spanish locals because so many Irish patients now get treatment there.
Rory was able to jump waiting lists at home under the European Union’s Cross-Border Directive, a decade-old scheme which allows patients from any EU country to avail of treatment in another EU country. The HSE in Ireland reimburse the costs of the operation.
“The treatment I received in the HCB Hospital in Dénia was first class,” said Rory.
“It couldn’t have gone any better. I’d heard about the cross-border scheme from a friend and was advised to call Healthcare Abroad and they helped deal with all the forms and referrals from my GP,” he added.
“When I arrived in Alicante I was collected at the airport and taken to a lovely four-star hotel for a couple of nights before surgery,” said Rory who had a consultation with his surgeon in advance.
“The operation itself went very well. I didn’t feel a thing,” he remarked.
Rory was injured 13 months ago while playing for Killarney Athletic against local rivals Killarney Celtic.
“I fell awkwardly when my foot went into a divot on the pitch. I could hear the pop from it. I felt sick,” said the Killarney man.
“I was actually feeling really fit – fitter than I had ever been – so to pick up the injury was tough to take.”
Rory had a number of bookings with clinics in Ireland but work, family commitments and Covid led to various delays.
“The insurance I had only covered less than half of any surgery costs, so I began to look into it further and realised that the full cost of the operation I badly needed could be covered under the EU Cross Border scheme,” said Rory who works as a data analyst.
“I just had to pay for my flights and the hotel and the hotel was very cheap because of the arrangement they have with Healthcare Abroad.”
Healthcare Abroad Ireland works alongside the HSE to assist patients through the cross-border scheme, helps to complete the paperwork and liaise with Irish GPs. Any treatment offered by the HSE can be treated abroad under the EU legislation and details of some of the operations available can be found on www.healthcareabroad.ie.
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