Transfer for treatment by the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) is known as an Extra Contractual Referral (ECR) and occurs when the HSCB approves a consultant’s request to transfer a patient to a provider outside Northern Ireland for assessment or treatment which the consultant considers necessary but which is not available through HSC (i.e. NHS) facilities locally. This is normally to a provider elsewhere in the United Kingdom but may also be to a provider outside the UK where this is clinically justified.
Normally, the Board will approve a transfer of this sort where the treatment needed is of a specialist nature which is not available in Northern Ireland, or where there is an exceptional clinical reason why a transfer is appropriate.
In these circumstances the Board will:
No other costs will be reimbursed.
Travel expense reimbursement for ECR referrals is not means tested. Expenses in relation to this policy will be payable by the HSCB regardless of the patient’s financial circumstances. The HSCB will not provide cash in advance of travel.
If you feel that you may have grounds for transfer outside Northern Ireland under this arrangement you should contact your GP who may refer you to a consultant in Northern Ireland for an initial assessment. Please note GPs do not refer patients directly to providers outside Northern Ireland.
The HSCB’s Extra Contractual Referral (ECR) process allows patients to be treated outside Northern Ireland where a patient’s consultant feels that this is clinically necessary. Under this process, a patient’s treating Health and Social Care Consultant submits an application to the HSCB for funding approval to be treated outside Northern Ireland.
There are two ECR panels to consider and approve funding requests where a patient’s consultant feels that this is clinically necessary.
The referring consultant remains responsible for clinical oversight and management of the patient.
ECRs normally arise, and are eligible for approval, in the following circumstances:
In relation to number 4 above, it would be a matter for the patient’s consultant to demonstrate the grounds for clinical exceptionality. The Board can only take account of the clinical circumstances that apply to the individual case. The Board is not in a position to take account of any personal or social circumstances such as age, dependants, occupation etc.