Health Services: British Nationals Abroad

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 13th September 2018.

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Photo of Hilary Benn Hilary Benn Chair, Committee on Exiting the European Union

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, if he will make it his policy to seek to ensure that UK citizens living in other EU member states continue to be eligible for government-provided medical care in the event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

Photo of Stephen Barclay Stephen Barclay Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care)

The United Kingdom Government has made good progress in negotiations on the Citizens’ Rights section of the Withdrawal Agreement. This will provide reassurance regarding healthcare cover to the many UK nationals who have made their lives in other European Union countries (and vice versa, EU citizens living in the UK).

The UK Government remains focused on securing a broader agreement with the EU on reciprocal healthcare rights as part of the UK’s future relationship with the EU. It has made clear in the White Paper of June 2018, ‘The Future Relationship Between The United Kingdom and the European Union’, that it is seeking agreement on reciprocal healthcare cover for state pensioners retiring to the EU or the UK, continued participation in the European Health Insurance Card scheme and cooperation on planned medical treatment.

The UK Government is confident that getting a good deal that works for both the EU and the UK is, by far, the most likely outcome. We do not want or expect a no deal outcome. However, as a responsible Government we are preparing for every eventuality and, in the absence of a deal, we are considering a range of contingency plans. We are building our understanding of what is required in member states to protect the safety of both UK and EU patients in all scenarios, including no deal.

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