The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) have announced today that in the event of no deal Brexit on 31 October 2019, contingency plans are in place for reciprocal healthcare arrangements. However, these do not include kidney patients who wish or need to travel in Europe.
You can read the latest on our Brexit page
We have recently heard for a couple of patients who are concerned about how Brexit will affect their ability to travel:-
“I am travelling to Cyprus to see my Nan as it is her 70th birthday. We were booked in at the hospital that has a reciprocal healthcare agreement with the NHS. Unfortunately due to the uncertainty of it we’ve had to cancel and go to the private unit as it’s better to be safe than sorry, the down side of this is that’s it’s €800 for the week. Which I am having to pay for. I just hope that we are able to come to an agreement with the EU to allow the UK, specifically the NHS to carry on being able to pay for dialysis within the European Union.
It is so important for people on dialysis to have a holiday, although the dialysis doesn’t stop. The same routine three times a week can be exhaustive for dialysis patients. So it’s good to get away and clear your mind.”
“I’ve been on haemodialysis for nearly 31 years. I’ve had four transplants, all of which have failed & I now dialyse daily at home. Life on dialysis is tough, and like many patients I have a daily struggle to just maintain a quality of life. However I try to maintain a zest for life and cope with my illness through being proactive and grabbing opportunities when they arise. In particular I’ve worked hard to ensure that dialysis doesn’t control my life to the extent of not being able to travel, and so over the years I’ve dialysed in a number of countries including France, Austria, Ireland, Spain, Cyprus & Sweden, Denmark and Iceland. EHIC is the mechanism which allows me the freedom to get healthcare within the EU and gives me the sense of freedom which everyone else has. I simply couldn’t afford to pay for my own treatment abroad as we’re a one-income family. To take that freedom away from me and my husband would be devastating, and mean we were limited to the UK, where ironically it’s harder to arrange holiday and respite dialysis owing to our overstretched and under resourced health service. If we lost reciprocal healthcare it wouldn’t matter what colour our passport was, as we wouldn’t be able to use it”
Brexit: Update on reciprocal healthcare
There have been some developments towards future healthcare arrangements in some EU countries after Brexit.
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