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Scheme pays for travel to Paris for a hip replacement at expense of HSE

A radical new scheme pays the medical bills of Irish patients to get treated in luxurious European hospitals.

It means that hundreds of patients, who need major surgeries like hip replacements, can skip Irish waiting lists and get the treatment almost immediately abroad.

It is estimated that around €700,000 will be spent paying for patients to fly to top public and private hospitals across Europe by the end of the year. With hospital waiting lists at an all-time high, it is expected that applications for this revolutionary scheme will skyrocket over coming months.

Recent figures, obtained by the Sunday Independent, reveal that 648 people have inquired about the option since January - an increase of 380pc from June to December last year. "The patient pays for the treatment and claims reimbursement at the cost of that treatment in Ireland or the cost abroad - whichever is the lesser," the HSE said.

Results of suspected BSE case due

Results of tests carried out on a suspected case of BSE found on a dairy farm near Louth village are due this week.

Yesterday, Dr Brian Evans, a deputy director general at the World Organisation for Animal Health, said a positive result shouldn't "restrict the consumption of meat or meat products which are derived from Irish animals".

Man charged over 'mistaken' shooting

A 32-year-old man has been charged with the murder of Keith Walker in west Dublin eight days ago.

The father of two (36) was shot down in Clonsilla last Friday, in what gardai believe was a case of mistaken identity. A post-mortem examination revealed he had been shot several times with a sub-machine gun. Christopher ­McDonald was arrested within 12 hours of the murder of Mr Walker. Two other men remain in garda custody.

Paul Kimmage on his bike for hospices

FORMER professional cyclist and Sunday Independent journalist Paul Kimmage will get in the saddle for an Irish Hospice Foundation cycle in Italy this week.

Paul will join 52 other cyclists on the Kingspan-sponsored cycle, which has raised €1.3m for the IHF since 2009. The first leg of the 600km cycle, in aid of Nurses for Night Care service, starts tomorrow. Paul and the cyclists will retrace some of the miles he covered in the iconic Giro d'Italia, before finishing in Rome on Friday.

Thousands march in water protest

Thousands of anti-water charge demonstrators brought Dublin city centre to a standstill yesterday as their opposition to the controversial tax continues.

Protesters gathered outside the GPO while organisers handed out Greek flags. The march comes less than 24 hours after the protests were criticised as "partially responsible" for the Clerys closure. Deputy CEO of Retail Excellence Ireland, Sean Murphy, said previous protests had affected footfall.

Clerys' new owners to meet minister

THE company at the centre of the shock closure of iconic department store Clerys has agreed to meet Business and Employment Minister, Ged Nash.

UK firm Natrium bought the company that owned Clerys two weeks ago, resulting in the doors closing on the historic building and the potential loss of 460 jobs. The minister's spokesperson said yesterday: "He's glad the company want to talk after a week of silence, but he will have many questions."

Fianna Fail in 4pc poll surge

FIANNA Fail has received an opinion poll boost as the countdown to the next general election begins.

Micheal Martin's party has surged four points to 21pc despite the fallout from the shock resignation of Senator Averil Power. Fine Gael dropped three points to 24pc and Labour's support increased slightly to 9pc (up 1pc). Sinn Fein's support has dropped a point to 16pc and Independents/others are unchanged at 26pc.

Sunday Independent