Kerry TD to run buses to Belfast for hip and knees operations

A Kerry TD is to start running buses to Belfast for hip and knees operations this weekend.

Deputy Michael Healy-Rae says figures from the HSE show there’s been a massive rise in the number of people availing of the cross border directive.

This directive allows people to access health services in other EU countries and be reimbursed by the HSE.

Kerry Independent TD Michael Healy-Rae says the Government claims waiting lists are falling, but the reality is people are going to Belfast for procedures.

Deputy Healy-Rae says so far this year, according to figures from the HSE, 2,234 people have been reimbursed by the HSE under the Cross Border Directive, with at least 70% of those being ophthalmology and orthopaedic operations.

The HSE has paid out over €7.5 million for reimbursements up until the end of August this year; that’s up from €29,000 for 2014.

Deputy Healy-Rae is to organise buses to Belfast for people waiting for hip and knee operations.

This, he says, is due to the long waiting lists for procedures, which have been suspended at University Hospital Kerry since the summer.

The first bus of patients will travel to Belfast this Sunday.