Health cover for retired Britons in EU to last six months in no-deal Brexit

Health cover for retired Britons in EU to last six months in no-deal Brexit

The government has pledged £150m to temporarily cover the healthcare costs of 180,000 British nationals living in the EU in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The health secretary, Matt Hancock, said workers posted to the bloc, plus pensioners and students, who can currently have their healthcare funded by the UK under existing reciprocal arrangements, would continue to be covered for six months after a crash out.

The government will also pay the treatment costs of UK tourists if they began their holiday before the UK leaves the EU.

“Protecting the healthcare rights of UK nationals is a priority of this government,” said Hancock.

However, the move was met with anger by campaign groups. Sue Wilson, chair of Bremain in Spain, the country where the largest cohort of pensioners live, said: “They keep making these announcements and they seem to think they will provide reassurance. But they are time-limited and therefore have the opposite effect – people will ask what happens after six months.

“What we need is reassurance that our rights do not change regardless. That is what the leave campaign promised, that’s what Michael Gove promised and it’s clear every time they make one of these statements that is not the case.”

Full article in The Guardian


Brexit: Brit expats in Malaga stage huge protest saying ‘UK has forgotten us’

Brexit: Brit expats in Malaga stage huge protest saying ‘UK has forgotten us’

Dozens of British expats living in Spain staged a Brexit protest in the streets of Malaga, declaring ‘the UK has forgotten us’.

The Brits waved European Union, Spanish and British flags and held banners reading “They’re trying to make us leave the EU” and “Take back control: My grandkids’ future”.

They are worried they will lose free access to Spanish healthcare, currently assured by the EU, as Britain crashes out of the bloc, possibly without a deal.

Protesters hit out at the Conservative Government, with Tamara Essex, a 60-year-old from Dorset, saying: “Spain is doing everything it can to protect us. The UK government has forgotten us.”

She said Spain had done more for Britons living in the country than the UK Government.

During Sunday’s demonstration the Brits marched through the streets of Malaga, a port city on southern Spain’s Costa del Sol, to register their concerns about their uncertain status ahead of the October 31 deadline.

Spain is home to around 300,000 Britons and is the most popular European retirement destination for UK residents, with around a third of them aged over 65.

Among foreign nationals, they are by far the biggest users of Spain’s state-funded universal healthcare system.

Read full article in The Mirror

Battling Brexit in Barcelona!

Battling Brexit in Barcelona!

On Thursday 3 October, I took the train up to Barcelona to take part in two events organised by Mamen Candela and Amy Holden of Europeans for Catalonia. The first event was an hour-long radio interview, alongside Debbie Williams, Chair of Brexpats-Hear our Voice. We discussed all things Brexit-related, especially in regard to our rights, and our campaigns. You can listen to the radio show, by tuning in here.

Cooltura FM radio station

The second event was a sell-out meeting of European citizens, mostly British and Spanish, at the Princess Hotel. Besides Debbie and me, there were two other speakers – Hedwig Hegtermans of the 3Million campaign group, representing European citizens in the UK, and Elena Remigi, founder of the In Limbo Project. As well as many members of Bremain in Spain, we were also delighted to have EU Supergirl, Madeleina Kay, in our audience. The presentations were well received, and a lively debate followed, with many questions from the audience. Once the event was over, we all retired to the bar to continue the discussions and to put the Brexit world to rights!

My fellow presenters had this to say, following the event:

Debbie Williams: “This really was a showcase event, promoting European collaboration and demonstrating that the spirit of the European Union is alive and well. Thanks to my friends and fellow campaigners Elena, Sue and Hedwig, the “girly swots”, for their outstanding commitment and knowledge”.

Hedwig Hegtermans: “I felt the evening covered many of the different facets Brexit put us in. The audience was wonderful, very engaged and asking important questions. It was a pleasure to be part of it”.

Elena Remigi: “The event proved how cooperation and solidarity always bear good fruit and how we can achieve greater things if we work together. I was touched by the response to the testimonies and how the audience engaged, asking what they could do. This is the sign of how these stories moved consciences”.

Audience at BCN

A special thanks, from us all, to the organisers, for giving us the opportunity to spread the word that our rights matter, and that there is everything to play for. As Mamen said afterwards, “This event has raised awareness about the extremely difficult situation faced by EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in the EU. The speakers showed the human impact of Brexit, highlighted the importance of healing the divisions, and encouraged the audience to take action to stop Brexit and protect our rights”.

Mamen also kindly shared with us this comment from a British friend, who attended the event: “Frankly, I had not given much thought to the impact of Brexit on EU citizens in the UK before, but obviously they suffer great uncertainty now. I am rather embarrassed to be British now. I will write to my MP and MEP this weekend”.

Thank you again to everyone involved – the organisers, the speakers, and the audience. We’re all in this together, and we can all contribute, so get writing, get lobbying and get involved! We may not all be in Catalonia, but we are all Europeans, and long may it stay that way!

You can read more about Europeans in Catalonia here.

Sue Wilson, Chair of Bremain in Spain

Bremainers at BCN
‘Cirque de Resistance’ Manchester 29 Sept 2019

‘Cirque de Resistance’ Manchester 29 Sept 2019

Despite the wet weather, thousands turned out for the ‘Cirque de Resistance’ (Carnival of Defiance) rally and the ‘End Austerity Now’ march on Sunday 29 September.

Planned to coincide with the Tory Party Conference, the aim of the anti-Brexit event was to call for an end to the “tyrannical and undemocratic government” doing everything in its power to drive the UK off the Brexit cliff.

Weather won’t stop Remainers!
Gina Dowding MEP with Sue and Juliet.
On the March

Protestors met in Whitworth Park, then marched to Castlefield Bowl to hear speeches from politicians and campaigners alike. Speakers included Labour MEP – Julie Ward, Human Rights campaigner – Peter Tatchell, Anti-Brexit campaigner – Mike Galsworthy, of Scientists for EU/NHS for EU, campaigner Femi, of OFOC, and our own chair, Sue Wilson.


Sue with Peter Tatchell
Sue with Julie Ward MEP
Mike Galsworthy and Sue

The event was also attended by some well-known campaigners, including EU Supergirl, Madeleina Kay and Steven Bray – Mr. Stop Brexit – and the SODEM crew. The Boris blimp, used at an earlier rally in London in July, also made an appearance.

Madeleina Kay
Sue and Steve Bray
Boris Blimp

Sue’s speech focused on the situation relating to Brits in the EU – the stereotypes, the threat to our rights, the failure of the British government to protect us, and our fight back! As Sue said in her speech, “we won’t sit back while our rights are stolen, we won’t sit back while this government destroys our country, and we won’t sit back while Brexit threatens all that we hold dear”.

Castlefield Bowl Manchester
Femi and Sue
Sue and August Bremainer of the Month Juliet Smith

Make sure you are doing all you can to fight back, by lobbying, writing to the newspapers, supporting campaigns and attending as many events as you can. There are plenty to choose from in October!

Sue Wilson, Chair of Bremain in Spain

Says it all!!
Brexit and Healthcare in Spain

Brexit and Healthcare in Spain

Financial journalist Paul Burgin has kindly written a piece for Bremain in  Spain, explaining the current healthcare situation in Spain in light of the government announcement this week. The announcement differs for those S1 holders in Spain as Paul explains below.

‘You may have read stories on continued healthcare rights for retired British nationals in other EU states. Hopefully, this clarifies what is going on.


As EU citizens, retired British nationals rely on their S1 forms for free healthcare and subsidised prescriptions – and the UK directly reimburses the country they live in. If Brexit happens, the S1 will cease to apply. The UK may have to agree separate arrangements with each EU member state, including Spain.


In March, the Spanish government decreed that healthcare would continue as now to December 2020, with or without an EU Withdrawal Agreement. You can read the decree here.

But that decree is conditional: the UK must reciprocate for Spanish nationals living in the UK. If not, Spanish foreign affairs minister Josep Borrell warns that British immigrants’ access to healthcare will be limited.


The UK has also proposed that free pan-EU healthcare continues to December 2020. This has not been agreed, either with the EU or with Spain.

In that case, the UK’s ‘no-deal with anyone plan’ is to continue free healthcare for 6 months only, or 12 months if you are already undergoing treatment.

The UK wants to pay directly for your healthcare, but circumstances may mean you pay and the UK reimburses you. The NHS is writing to S1 holders in the EU. Download the pdf here or read its latest advice here.

There is no clarity on what happens after the 6- or 12-month period. The UK government also advises British immigrants to look into private healthcare wherever they live in the EU. That is expensive and may not cover existing conditions. Remember, not telling a broker or insurer about existing conditions may invalidate your cover when you need to claim.


Every Spanish resident has the right to universal healthcare. ‘Universal’ does not mean ‘free’. The convenio especial covers those not in other schemes:

–    Under 65:   €60/month     (increases at age 65)

–    Over 65:     €157/month

– Covers pre-existing conditions. No EHIC card.

– Prescriptions are not subsidised–you have to pay the full cost.

– You must have been resident (NIE, padrón) for at least one year. 

– Must usually be paid by direct debit from a Spanish bank account. 


– Ensure your details held by the NHS are up to date, including your address.  +44 191 218 1999

– Check details held by your local health service in Spain, including your address, passport and/or NIE.

– If you have an EHIC (Tarjeta Sanitaria Europea) card for travel, check the expiry date. You can register for a new one (quickly!), for free.

UK issued cards – click here  


Spain issued cards – click here

– If you live in Spain but use a UK-issued EHIC card to access treatment or medicines, you are doing it wrong. Register correctly for the S1 scheme on the UK number above or here.

– If you see misinformation on social media, please use the info above to correct lies and misunderstandings. Be polite!


Even if you no longer have the vote in the UK, you have a voice. Be polite! 

– Write to your MP where you last lived in the UK, here.

– Email Matt Hancock, the UK Secretary of State for health – 

– Twitter followers can message the UK Ambassador – @HughElliottUK

– Sign Brexit petitions to the UK government, here.

– Go to the People’s Vote march in London, 19 October.

– Join a campaign group:

Bremain in Spain

British in Europe

Brexpats – Hear Our Voice



– And support our 3 million fellow EU citizens in the UK.’

Many thanks for submitting this Paul.