Current situation: 29,000 on dialysis have the right to travel to the EU and receive life-maintaining dialysis through reciprocal healthcare agreements using the EHIC card.
If No Deal happens: Without the EHIC patients would have to pay about 1,000 Euros per week. No insurance is available & effectively patients are unable to travel any more. Very little space in UK units.
What we would like to happen: Retain rights of UK citizens to receive health care free of charge in other EU countries.
Current situation: 29,000 on dialysis and 34,000 with transplants receive a range of specialist medications needed to maintain life and wellbeing. These include fluids such as those used for peritoneal dialysis. The same rules on packaging, safety and standards are applied across the EU preserving safety and continuity of supply, with no tariffs.
If No Deal happens: Many of the drugs are not made in the UK and any delay in supply puts lives at risk. There are suggestions that drugs could be reduced or swapped if necessary which is not safe e.g. in the case of drugs to prevent rejection of transplants.
What we would like to happen: The supply and space for storage of medicines must be protected as a priority in Brexit negotiations. No specialist medicines can be swapped or reduced other than by specialists.
Current situation: 29,000 on dialysis rely on continuous supply of consumables to carry out treatment. Haemodialysis is carried out 3 times a week by 24,000 people and peritoneal dialyis is 4 times a day or overnight by 4,000 people. The availability of tubing, catheters, dressings, dialysers, membranes, needles and much more is vital. With such frequent use, technicians must be able to replace parts and obtain new equipment swiftly to continue the service.
If No Deal happens: Much of the equipment needed for dialysis (and to carry out transplants) is not made in the UK and any delay in supply puts lives at risk.
What we would like to happen: The supply and space for storage of equipment and consumables must be protected as a priority in Brexit negotiations.
Current situation: 22 organs from deceased donors came into the UK from the EU in 2017/18. 26 organs left the UK in 2017/18, with 19 going to the EU and 7 to non-EU countries. If donated organs do not match a recipient in the EU, they may be offered to UK recipients. Likewise if a donated organ cannot be used in the UK, the organs will be offered within the EU transferred and transplanted there, increasing the number of successful transplants for all.
If No Deal happens: If the EU directive, agreements and conventions ceased to apply to the UK, continued cross border transplant arrangements might no longer apply this would reduce the number of successful kidney transplants and could lead to the wastage of valuable donated organs.
What we would like to happen: We want to see the continued sharing of human organs for transplantation across EU borders.
Current situation: The Common Travel Area (CTA) means that Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland citizens can freely access healthcare services in each country (and other parts of the UK). They do not need to show an EHIC and do not need to provide S1 documentation if they live there. Patients can receive dialysis, medications, or even choose to be on the organ donation waiting list in either the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland.
If No Deal happens: Without cross-border arrangements NI patients will no longer be able to access care in the Republic of Ireland. Present arrangements rely not only on the UK’s membership of the EU, but also on the open border policy that this permits between RoI and Northern Ireland.
What we would like to happen: It is essential to retain the CTA and all current agreements between Northern Ireland and RoI regarding the management of cross-border health care services.
What can you do
Write to your MP
Please write a letter to your MP and please ask your family and friends to do the same. You can find your MP by clicking here and typing in your postcode.
Although the United Kingdom has given notice of its intention to leave the EU, we continue to be a member until Brexit actually takes place.
Please either send your note as an email or post your letter to the MP’s office .
Please send me a copy at email@example.com, Policy Director at Kidney Care UK, 3 The Windmills, St Mary’s Close, Turk Street, Alton GU34 1EF. Thank you to everyone that has done this so far.