Cookie policy: This site uses cookies (small files stored on your computer) to simplify and improve your experience of this website. Cookies are small text files stored on the device you are using to access this website. For more information please take a look at our terms and conditions. Some parts of the site may not work properly if you choose not to accept cookies.

Join

Subscribe or Register

Existing user? Login

European Union

Lords warn over loss of reciprocal health rights after Brexit

Patients with long-term conditions may have to pay for private health insurance cover when travelling to other European countries after Brexit, a House of Lords committee has warned.

European Health Insurance card (EHIC), close up

Source: Steven May / Alamy Stock Photo

Rights to reciprocal healthcare when travelling to other European countries under the terms of the European Health Insurance Card will cease after Brexit, says a report from a House of Lords committee

Brexit will have a “significant impact” on the UK’s reciprocal healthcare arrangements with other European countries, peers have warned.

People with long-term conditions, rare diseases or those with a disability who rely on the current system could be put off travelling to the European Union (EU) if they are forced to pay for private health insurance cover instead of relying on their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), according to the House of Lord’s European Union Committee’s report ‘Brexit: reciprocal healthcare’.

The report, which followed the peer’s inquiry into the impact of reciprocal healthcare post-Brexit, welcomed the government’s ambition for UK and EU patient rights to be protected if they are accessing healthcare at the point of Brexit. But the Lords were concerned that until that right is made legally binding, entitlement is still unclear.

They were also worried about rights to reciprocal healthcare for those who were not already accessing healthcare services when the UK leaves the EU.

The report said: “In the absence of an agreement on future relations, the rights to reciprocal healthcare currently enjoyed by 27 million UK citizens, thanks to the EHIC, will cease after Brexit. Other rights, provided for by the S2 scheme and Patients’ Rights Directive, which cover planned treatment in other EU member states, will also come to an end.

“Without more detail from the government about how exactly it intends to maintain reciprocal healthcare arrangements or provide a suitable replacement … we should not take the future of UK-EU reciprocal healthcare for granted.”

The peers also expressed concern about the impact Brexit will have on cross-border healthcare between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Under the present arrangements, healthcare professionals can work either side of the border, patients can access cross-border healthcare and ambulances can travel freely.

“A hard border on the island of Ireland would be highly detrimental to healthcare for patients on both sides of the border,” the report warned.

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2018.20204621

Have your say

For commenting, please login or register as a user and agree to our Community Guidelines. You will be re-directed back to this page where you will have the ability to comment.

Recommended from Pharmaceutical Press

  • Sport and Exercise Medicine for Pharmacists

    Sport and Exercise Medicine for Pharmacists

    All the information you need to provide patients with evidence-based advice on sports and exercise related health matters.

    £27.00Buy now
  • Drugs and the Liver

    Drugs and the Liver

    Drugs and the Liver assists practitioners in making pragmatic choices for their patients. It enables you to assess liver function and covers the principles of drug use in liver disease.

    £38.00Buy now
  • International Research in Healthcare

    International Research in Healthcare

    Guidance for students or researchers undertaking a multi-centre research project in health services, medicines use and professional practice.

    £38.00Buy now
  • Health Policy and Ethics

    Health Policy and Ethics

    A comprehensive review of health policy, ethics, economics, and health care delivery around the world.

    £33.00Buy now
  • Health Economics

    Health Economics

    Health Economics is a practical analysis of the prominent economic issues facing the American health care system, and what mechanisms exist to counter it.

    £33.00Buy now

Search an extensive range of the world’s most trusted resources

Powered by MedicinesComplete
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comment
  • Save
  • Print Friendly Version of this pagePrint Get a PDF version of this webpagePDF

Supplementary images

  • European Health Insurance card (EHIC), close up

Newsletter Sign-up

Want to keep up with the latest news, comment and CPD articles in pharmacy and science? Subscribe to our free alerts.