Words: Ellen Kenny
The HSE will pay for the price of treatment in the Spanish hospital up to the cost that it would be in Ireland.
A new hospital has officially opened in Spain for Irish patients who cannot get treatment in Ireland.
Located in Alicante in the south-east of Spain, the hospital is part of the EU Cross Border Directive. This directive allows EU members to seek healthcare across the EU.
The 64-bed hospital is expected to deliver 1,500 surgeries for Irish patients each year.
A 2021 report from the ESRI found that Ireland was the third worst OECD country for waiting times on a wide range of operations. For example, Irish patients wait 182 days on average for hip replacement surgery compared to the OECD average of 116 days.
The hospital will perform a large number of hip replacements, knee operations, spinal procedures, cataract procedures, weight-loss surgeries, and other treatments.
Patients seeking treatment in Alicante will need to pay for their own flights and accommodation. The average price of a return flight to Alicante in the month of September with one carry-on suitcase was 216 euros, while the cheapest flight to Alicante in 2022 is on December 3 for 142 euros.
Average accommodation costs in Alicante range between 100 and 200 euros a night.
The HSE will pay for the treatments up to the value that they would cost in Ireland.
However, the median cost of total knee replacement in Ireland is roughly 13,700 euros. The median cost of a knee replacement in Alicante is approximately 14,900 euros, a difference of 1,200. The cost of cataract surgery in Ireland is 2,400 euros, while in Spain the median cost is 3,100 euros.
The Hospital Clinical Benidorm Hospitales group (HCB) and Irish company Healthcare Abroad developed this hospital. The HCB received the Joint Commission International, an award given to high class medical facilities around the world.
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