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Travelling to Europe for medical treatment

What is the S2 route?

The S2 (formerly E112) route entitles you to state-funded treatment in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland.

Treatment will be provided under the same conditions of care and payment as for residents of that country. This could mean you have to pay a percentage of the costs personally.

For example, in some countries, patients cover 25% of the costs of their state-provided treatment. The state covers the other 75%. This is known as a co-payment charge. 

If you receive treatment under this healthcare system, you are expected to pay the same co-payment charge as a patient from that country. For example, for an operation that costs £8,000 of which you're expected to pay a standard patient co-payment charge of 25%, you will pay £2,000. The state will pay the remaining £6,000.

However, you may be able to claim back some or all of the co-payment when you return to the UK. To apply for a refund of the co-payment, you will need to contact the Overseas Healthcare Team on 0191 218 1999 or overseas.healthcare@dwp.gsi.gov.uk.

In some countries, care is completely free, as in the UK. This means the S2 will cover 100% of the costs of your care, so you would not be required to pay any treatment costs upfront. 

Note: Treatment covered by an S2 cannot be experimental or a drug trial.

How to apply

To be issued with an S2 form, you will need to apply for funding (PDF, 102kb) prior to treatment. Please ensure you are using the latest available form (as provided on this site) before submitting your application. Applicants using an outdated form may be asked to supply further information or resubmit their application.

NHS England will decide whether or not to approve your application and will need to be satisfied that:

  • an NHS consultant has recommended in writing that you be treated in the other EEA country, and a full clinical assessment has been carried out to show the treatment will meet your specific needs
  • the costs of sending you abroad for treatment are justified – the health commissioner is responsible for spending money efficiently and fairly in the interests of all the patients they look after
  • the treatment is available under the other country's state health scheme
  • you're entitled to treatment under the NHS

If NHS England approves your application, you will be issued with an S2 form. You will need to take this form with you to the member state where you will be receiving treatment. For more information, contact NHS England.

Maternity

S2s to cover maternity care in another EEA country are processed differently. For more information, see our section Giving birth outside the UK.

Page last reviewed: 11/09/2015

Next review due: 11/09/2017

S2 eligibility criteria

To be eligible for the S2 route, you must:

  • be ordinarily resident in England
  • be receiving treatment in the state sector
  • be able to prove the hospital will accept an S2 
  • provide a letter of support from your consultant in the UK
  • provide an estimation of cost
  • provide the proposed dates of treatment 

 

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