The ways in which patients can access planned treatment abroad have changed following the UK leaving the EU on 31 December 2020. Pre-authorized planned treatment at state-run facilities continues to operate under the S2 funding route but the EU directive rote is no longer available for patients starting treatment after 31 December 2020.
Patients considering receiving planned treatment abroad should look at the official S2 funding route. This will not require patients to pay their treatment costs up-front. Patients should be wary of using third-party services which organize planned treatment abroad on their behalf, as these services often rely on the EU directive route and may not be able to refund the treatment costs.
There have been several cases of patients being out of pocket due to using these services. Information on the EU directive is available here.