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British Nationals Abroad: Health Services

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 209279, tabled on 16 January 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, which EU member states have indicated that UK citizens living in those countries would continue to be able to access local health services in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Answered on

21 January 2019

We want to secure reciprocal arrangements in a ‘no deal’ exit, so that no-one faces sudden changes to how they obtain healthcare.

The United Kingdom has made a generous unilateral offer to European Union citizens resident in the UK; through the EU settlement scheme, they will be able to work, study, and access benefits and services on broadly the same terms as now. We believe Member States have responsibilities and a duty of care towards UK nationals and are urging the EU and all its Member States to make the same commitment to protect the rights of UK nationals in the EU.

The Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill will give the Government the power to fund and arrange payments for healthcare for UK nationals (or former residents) outside of the UK, as well as to share the necessary data in relation to this.

This will enable the Government to work to ensure reciprocal healthcare arrangements continue when we leave the EU, whether through arrangements with the EU as a whole or, individual arrangements with EU Member States.

The UK and Irish Governments have both set out their firm intention to maintain current reciprocal access to local health services under the Common Travel Area framework, and work on this is at an advanced stage.

We have informally approached other Member States and are prioritising those that are the major pensioner, worker and tourist destinations. We will shortly be writing to all EU Member States, along with the EU Commission, formally outlining our generous offer on reciprocal healthcare. This will be subject to ongoing discussions.

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