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For more, see hse.ie/eng/services/list/1/schemes/cbd 'They carried out the pre-op and did the paperwork for me' * Julie Barrett began to experience pain in her right hip in 2013. However, by October 2016 the pain had become unbearable and, she recalls, her hip had "basically locked." "I was unable to move," recalls Julie, who is in her sixties and from Monasterevin, Co Kildare.* At the time she was on a HSE waiting list for a hip operation, but concerned about her pain levels, her three adult children had begun exploring the possibility of having a hip replacement carried out privately.

"I was in very bad pain; I was barely able to move with my left leg." So the 75-year-old Newgrange, Co Meath resident went to his computer and researched the Cross Border Healthcare Directive on the internet."You organise your own appointment and choose your own doctor," says Donohoe, who adds that the scheme covers both private and public hospitals.When the operation has taken place you submit your invoices, receipts and proof of travel," she explains, adding that shopping around is recommended, as more reasonably-priced treatment is available in countries like Germany, France, Poland or Czechoslovakia.I want to see more and more patients successfully going through the system."My experience of it has been good and I'm very happy if I can find some way to get a person seen to - for example, someone with osteoarthritis in a hip."Feedback from our members highlighted the considerable lack of awareness among GPs and patients that they have the right to seek healthcare in another EU country," he says.

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