What is the S2 Route


What is the S2 Route to medical treatment in Europe

There are many ways to go abroad for medical treatment. For a lot of treatments that are elective, that don’t necessarily improve quality of life, people choose to travel abroad as self-funded patients. These treatments can sometime be carried out sooner and at a lower cost than in the UK.

Some patients looking for treatment that is typically carried out on the NHS may also be eligible for treatment in another European Economic Area (EEA) country or Switzerland, funded by the NHS. This is known as the S2 route to medical treatment and may entitle some patients to go abroad. Having said that, there are some eligibility criteria that needs to be met.

 Eligibility criteria for S2 application

To be considered for the S2 route for treatment abroad you will need to satisfy the following NHS eligibility criteria:

  • You are a resident in England and have access to NHS treatment and care
  • The treatment you are after is ordinarily provided by the NHS to a person in your situation
  • You will need to have written proof that you’ve been assessed by a clinician in either the UK, any EEA country, or Switzerland
  • The clinicians must clearly state the treatment needed and the reasons why a person in your situation should get this treated.
  • The treatment must be available on the national health service of the county providing the care
  • Once all the information is provided to the NHS, they will determine whether the treatment can be provided in the UK within a reasonable time period.
  • The treatment required isn’t an emergency treatment
  • The treatment isn’t part of an experimental procedure or drug trial.
  • If the supporting documentations aren’t in English, a translation will be required

 Successful S2 application

If the S2 application process is approved, it is important to be aware that the conditions under which the treatment will be provided is the same condition of care that would apply to a local resident of the country you’re visiting for treatment. This could mean you’re responsible for part payment of the treatment, as it’s not that unusual for some state-run healthcare services to charge for part of the treatment.

In some countries, like the UK, where treatment is 100% covered by the national health service the treatment will be free for you if your S2 route application is successful.

You can learn more about the details of the S2 route here.

How to Apply for S2?

Funding is a key part of the S2 route. You should apply for funding before you receive treatment.

Application for S2 funding.

Make sure the latest S2 application form is used when applying for treatment abroad. The use of Incorrect forms or out of date forms will void your application which will mean you’ll need to resubmit it using the correct paper work.

Application guide notes to S2 route

Application will need to show that the eligibility criteria are met, as well as the required treatment and proposed care provider. You may also need to provide a timeline for the treatment with a breakdown of cost.

Application should be sent to:

European Cross Border Healthcare Team
NHS England
Fosse House
6 Smith Way
Grove Park
LE19 1SX

Or email: england.europeanhealthcare@nhs.net

The NHS does not have to approve any applications for S2 route treatments unless completely satisfied that all the required criteria have been met.

If the application is approved by the NHS, you will be provided with a S2 guarantee form. This form can be presented to the care provider abroad to start the process. If you have any question, concerns or difficulties, speak to your local care authority or the cross boarder health team for further assistance

Unsuccessful S2 Applications

If your application has not been successful you have the right to ask for a review if there is information to present that wasn’t in your original application. If there is evidence that may influence the outcome of your application, it is important to put it forward for a review.

If you are not satisfied with the reasons for the rejection of your application it is possible to make a formal appeal, even if there is no new information or evidence to present.

If you need to appeal a decision email england.europeanappeal@nhs.net and quote your application reference number.