Lords to investigate if healthcare in the EU will still be available to British citizens after Brexit


The House of Lords EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee today invites contributions to its new inquiry Brexit: reciprocal healthcare. The Committee will begin its work with an evidence session on Wednesday 13 September when it will question representatives from the Department of Health and the Nuffield Trust.

Whilst this may not seem entirely ‘care’ related; many British immigrants living abroad are currently dependent on free healthcare where they live. This includes social care. What will this mean to the many who’s pensions are already less due to the fall in the pound.

What does this mean to the NHS, where another winter crisis looms?

What does this mean for social care, another area where local authority cuts have meant a reduction in services?

Will these people have to return after Brexit and what does that mean for already overstretched services?

The inquiry will focus on the reciprocal healthcare implications of Brexit for UK citizens travelling, living and working in the rest of the EU, and for EU citizens in the UK.

The Committee seeks evidence on the following topics in particular:

  • Which groups will be most affected by any changes to existing reciprocal healthcare arrangements?
  • What impact would ending reciprocal healthcare arrangements with the EU have on the UK health and social care sector?
  • What incentives does EU have to maintain existing reciprocal healthcare arrangements with the UK?
  • The key priorities for a transitional arrangement

The deadline for submissions of evidence is Friday 24 November.

On Wednesday, the Committee will question Paul Macnaught, Director, EU, International and Public Health Systems, Department of Health and Mark Dayan, Policy and Public Affairs Analyst, Nuffield Trust.

The session is an opportunity to explore with the witnesses their views on issues such as the plans that the Government has in place for reciprocal healthcare arrangements post-Brexit; whether they envisage any transitional arrangements on reciprocal healthcare; the costs of changes to reciprocal healthcare arrangements; and whether there are any reciprocal healthcare models from other countries that the UK might look to adopt.

The evidence session will begin at 10:00am on Wednesday 13 September and take place in Committee room 3A of the House of Lords.

Speaking on the launch of the inquiry, Lord Jay of Ewelme, Chairman of the Committee said:

“There are over one million British people living in EU countries who are at risk of losing access to free healthcare. Although there are some signs that the UK might reach a deal in principle with the EU to protect this right, how it will work in practice remains to be seen.

“The Committee seeks to investigate the issues surrounding reciprocal healthcare arrangements post-Brexit, which, among many other potential problems, could make travelling or working in the EU for long periods of time more expensive due to higher insurance costs, and severely affect how easily British people with pre-existing health conditions can travel to the EU.”


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