Health Services: Reciprocal Arrangements

Department of Health written question – answered on 27th April 2016.

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Photo of Viscount Waverley Viscount Waverley Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in the event of the UK leaving the EU, UK citizens living in EU member states will retain all of their rights to medical treatment in the EU under the existing terms and conditions based on their contributions to the UK NHS social security system.

Photo of Lord Prior of Brampton Lord Prior of Brampton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health

As set out in the Government’s White Paper: ‘The process for withdrawing from the European Union’, published on 29 February and attached, the withdrawal process is unprecedented. No country has ever used Article 50 – it is untested. There is a great deal of uncertainty about how it would work. United Kingdom citizens currently enjoy a range of specific rights to live, to work and access to pensions, health care and public services that are only guaranteed because of European Union law. If the UK voted to leave the EU, the Government would do all it could to secure a positive outcome for the country, but there would be no requirement under EU law for these rights to be maintained. Should an agreement be reached to maintain these rights, the expectation must be that this would have to be reciprocated for EU citizens in the UK.

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