It was an EU scheme which helped many. If you were on a public health waiting list and in discomfort waiting for a hip or knee replacement or a cataract operation, you could bypass waiting lists by availing of what’s called the Cross Border Directive (CBD) scheme. With this, you paid upfront to get your surgery done in another EU country and were reimbursed by the HSE a few months later.

A total of 6,728 people availed of this scheme in 2018 and many chose Belfast for those operations – for obvious commuting and handiness reasons.