UK retirees in EU say NHS plans under no-deal Brexit are ‘sick’

UK retirees in EU say NHS plans under no-deal Brexit are ‘sick’

The government has been described as sick and uncaring by an organisation representing more than 10,000 British nationals in Europe over NHS healthcare plans for pensioners in a no-deal Brexit scenario.

British nationals who have retired to EU countries have reacted with fury to what they describe as an insulting and offensive offer by the government to cover healthcare costs for up to one year if they had applied for or are undergoing treatment before exit day.

This is in contrast to the current reciprocal arrangement whereby the NHS reimburses EU member states for treatment of those who have paid into the UK national insurance system for a qualifying number of years.

“So if the person has paid into the system all their lives and retired to an EU country in good faith, with all the reciprocal arrangements in place, they could be left high and dry if they, say, get cancer after 29 March,” said Kate Husband, whose parents, both 80, a teacher and an architect, moved from Cornwall to join her and her husband in Brittany 25 years ago.

Pensioners will be eligible to return to the UK and get treatment on the NHS under the contingency plans, the health minister, Stephen Hammond, revealed in a statement on Tuesday.

“How can pensioners with cancer, cardiac problems or other major issues be expected to make or even afford repeated visits to the UK for regular vital treatment?” asked Dave Spokes, coordinator at Expat Citizens Rights in the EU (Ecreu), an organisation with 11,000 members across the EU.

Full article in The Guardian

Shock horror for Brit expats as no-deal means no healthcare

Shock horror for Brit expats as no-deal means no healthcare

A no-deal Brexit will rob British expats in EU countries of their rights to free healthcare.

British expatriates living in EU member state, including France, Italy and Spain, will no longer be entitled to free heathcare in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The news is a major blow to retired British citizens living in popular destinations such as the Spanish Costas, France’s Provence region and Italy’s Tuscany. It’s also bad news for the UK’s NHS, now struggling to cope after many of its EU citizen medical staff have opted to return to their home countries. Should a large number of UK pensioners decide to repatriate in order to get free medical treatment, the strain on the NHS could result in its breakdown in many areas.

Freedom of movement campaigner and immigration lawyer Colin Yeo sees the situation as just another example of how British lawmakers in favour of Brexit are playing with expats’ lives in order to gain points in the negotiations. Yeo believes few pundits and politicians even bother to find out how their policies would pan out when real people are involved. The news broke via a no-deal technical notice leaked to the press, which stated S1 certificates would not longer be valid after March 2019.

Full article in Expats blog

NHS could face £1bn Brexit bill for treating expats, health think tank warns

NHS could face £1bn Brexit bill for treating expats, health think tank warns

The price of NHS treatment for tens of thousands of British pensioners returning to the UK from Spain, France and other EU countries after Brexit will hit a billion pounds, experts have warned.

Shortages of NHS and social care staff and extra charges for new drugs are likely to hike costs for the health service even higher when Britain leaves the EU, according to a new report from health think tank the Nuffield Trust.

The Department of Health currently spends around £500m on a scheme that allows some 190,000 pensioners to access free or reduced-cost medical treatment in EU countries.

However, it is unlikely this reciprocal arrangement will be kept after Brexit, meaning the NHS will face a bill of almost £1bn in total – double the current outlay. There will also be severe pressure on hospital beds, as the health service struggles to cope with the extra patients, and a shortage of staff, said researcher Mark Dayan.

Mr Dayan told The Independent the situation for the NHS after Brexit will be “difficult”, adding that the total cost faced by the health service could be even higher if Brexit causes an economic slowdown that impacts on public finances.

A bigger problem than the costs is “the need for additional staff and hospital beds”, he said. “You can’t just turn on a tap and produce these things. They’re limited resources and are already overstretched in the NHS.”

“The impact of staffing shortages, which we already have and could worsen after Brexit if handled badly, are that some places won’t have enough staff to operate safely, or agency staff will have to be brought in at high rate, which will make the NHS’s financial position even worse.”

Read full story…