Travelling overseas for medical treatment can be a stressful experience.

On this page we have endeavoured to answer as many of the typical questions we are asked about overseas treatments and how we can help reduce the stress.

If you can’t find the answer to your question, please email us or call us on (01) 9069252.


Why was CBIH set up and what is its overall aim?

Cross Border Irish Health was set up to specifically, assist and support the Irish public healthcare system.

Our aim is to offer fast and state-of-the-art medical procedures in Spain to everyone entitled to public patient healthcare in Ireland.

Why should I choose CBIH above other cross border health companies?

Our unique handholding service, means we are with you every step of the way.
Starting with your GP’s letter of referral, to finding the correct hospital and consultant, organising your flights, and all the HSE paperwork.

What guarantees do I have that the consultants in Barcelona are of the same calibre as Irish consultants?

The hospitals we work with have more than 30 years of experience.
Their consultants all speak English, will have worked in the UK’s NHS, the Irish HSE, or the American healthcare services.
They are also registered with the OMC (the Spanish Medical Council) and hold a high ranking post in the Spanish National Health Service.

Someone told me to get my procedure done on the NHS in the UK, why should I go to Spain?

According to a Healthcare Access and Quality Index survey in the Lancet Medical Journal, the Spanish healthcare system ranks number one in the EU, while the UK’s Healthcare system ranks number 15.

The UK is now out of the EU and in a transition period.

During the transition period, which will finish on December 31st, you can still access the UK’s NHS via the cross border scheme.
If however, the ongoing talks between the EU and the UK breakdown, the UK government have stated that they will end the talks without a final deal.

In a recent report the UK’s leading medical charity, The Kings Fund, warned in the event that the UK government leaves the talks without a deal EU (Irish) patients who are in the UK healthcare system at the time could well end up personally paying for all medical care from the moment the UK leaves the talks.

Traveling to Spain is now just as easy as traveling to the UK.

Is there a limit to the amount of treatments I can have in Spain?
As long as the HSE gives you authorization, there is no limit.
Are there any medical procedures that CBIH cannot arrange for me?

At the moment the majority of patients we work with are looking for cataract and hip replacements. We have also worked with people who needed spine fusions and others who needed knee replacements.

In principal there are no restrictions on the procedures that can be undertaken in Spain. However as everyone’s medical situation is unique we cannot guarantee that we could get everyone treated in Spain.

Please call us on (01) 906 9252 or email us to discuss your specific situation.

Who can apply for treatment with CBIH?
Every public patient who is on the HSE waiting list.
If my treatment is not successful, can I re-apply for medical treatment in Spain?



Can you help me with all the HSE paperwork?

Our team is used to working with the HSE and will help you with all the paperwork.

I have been told that I might have to wait a long time for prior-authorisation from the HSE, is this true?

Once your paper work is complete we immediately lodge it with the HSE.
While we are not responsible for the efficiency of the HSE we will keep pressure on them until prior-authority is granted.

Under both the HSE’s own rules and the EU directive they HSE is obliged to issue prior-authority without undue delay.

Does my GP or any other clinician have to provide a referral letter to the treating consultant in Barcelona?

In order to get treated abroad, a referral letter from your GP or clinician is required by the HSE and the medical centre in Spain.

Alternatively, you could ask your hospital for a waiting list letter.

We recommend GP referral letters over hospital waiting list letters.

I have received authorisation from the HSE for my treatment, what is the next step?

Let us know and we will prepare everything you need for your procedure.


Do I need to bring my E1-11 (EEHIC)?

If you don’t have your E1-11 click here to find out how to get yours.

When I get to Barcelona airport, what do I have to do?

We will meet you at the airport, transport you to the hospital, and return you to the airport post procedure.

Your personal English speaking CBIH team member will meet you at the airport, and will be on call for you during your stay in Barcelona.

Before you leave Ireland you will receive the detailed schedule of your trip.

If I run into difficulties in the hospital am I guaranteed a person will be there to assist me?

Your personal English speaking CBIH team member is on call for you 24 hours a day.


Am I guaranteed a more comfortable seat on my return flight, and am I guaranteed special assistance at the airports?

On your return trip we will book you into an aisle seat (you won’t be able to sit in an exit row, as this is airline policy).

We will also make sure that you have airport assistance from door to gate in Barcelona and from gate to door on your return to Ireland.

If I get treated in Barcelona am I entitled to follow-up treatment in Ireland?


Your follow up post-procedure care in Ireland will be the same as if you had your procedure done in Ireland.


Why do I need to pay €149 administration fee?

The fee is for our administration costs.

It covers the cost of document translation as well as hospital and clinic booking fees in Spain.

Is the administration fee refundable?

But it will be deducted from the overall cost of your procedure.

Do I have to pay for my procedure up-front?

Under the HSE rules and the terms of the EU directive you must pay in advance.

However when you return to Ireland the HSE MUST reimburse what you paid for the procedure.

Why do I have to pay up-front?

Because that is how the EU directive has been written.

Can you help me find funding?

We recomend applying at your local credit union.
The Irish League of Credit Unions, have an understanding of the EU Directive, HSE rules, and short term medical funding.

What is the maximum amount I can receive for my procedure(s)?

The maximum you can claim is the cost of the procedure in Ireland.

For example if you need a cataract operation, and the cost to the HSE of a cataract procedure in Ireland is €1000 then maximum you can receive from the HSE for a cataract procedure done in Spain is €1000.

When will I know the cost of my procedure?

Once the consultant in Spain has approved the operation, the hospital will send us a binding quote.

The moment we have the quote we will inform you and prepare the paperwork for HSE pre-approval.

Will the HSE pay the interest a credit provider might charge me for a loan?

The HSE is not liable to pay an interest your credit provider might charge.


Can I get an appointment in your Dublin office to help me with the HSE forms?


Our staff are always happy to meet you.

Remember we will take care of all the HSE paperwork for you.

Is the HSE prior-authorization form a guarantee that the HSE will reimburse me when I return to Ireland?


When you receive authorisation from the HSE you are entitled to re-imbursement for your treatment.

How long will I have to wait before I can get reimbursed?

Under EU law the HSE are obliged to process and make your reimbursement without delay.

The waiting period for reimbursement is dependent on the efficiency of the HSE.

Do I pay my flight and accommodation?

Yes, you will.

We are experts in finding cheap flights and hotels to suit all budgets, and will take care of all the booking for you.

In certain circumstances we can pay for your hotel, ask us for details.

Couldn’t find your answer? Contact us

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For any other questions, please write us at or call us on (01) 906 9252