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.
People already living in the EU who have their healthcare funded by the UK, including pensioners and students, will have their healthcare costs covered for six months if we leave without a deal. The UK Government has proposed to each EU Member State that, if we leave without a deal, existing healthcare arrangements should continue until 31 December 2020 in the same way that they do now.
Discussions are ongoing, but if arrangements with all Member States have not been finalised by 31 October, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, has today confirmed the Government will provide support to the 180,000 UK nationals living in the EU who currently have their healthcare costs paid for by the UK for a six month period following Brexit. This includes pensioners, students, those on disability benefits and UK workers temporarily posted in the EU. The Government has also committed to covering the costs of UK nationals in the EU who are in the middle of treatment when we leave the EU for up to a year.
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Whilst this announcement shows that some progress has been made on European healthcare arrangements, kidney patients who wish or need to travel in the EU remain in limbo. The government must sort reciprocal healthcare out for the good of all citizens, including kidney patients, after we leave the European Union.Fiona Loud Policy Director at Kidney Care UK
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