Wednesday, February 21

Millions of Britons could lose urgent medical treatment in EU after Brexit



Millions of Britons could lose their rights to urgent medical treatment while travelling in the EU after Brexit, a parliamentary committee has warned.

The Lords EU Committee said there was no guarantee British nationals would be able to continue to access the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme once Britain has left the EU.

Ministers have said they want to continue existing reciprocal healthcare arrangements including the EHIC which provides for free or reduced cost treatment in the EU, the three European Economic Area nations and Switzerland.

However the committee said the current arrangements were based on the free movement of people which ministers are pledged to end when Britain leaves the EU in March 2019.

In the absence of an agreement on future relations that covers this topic, the rights to reciprocal healthcare currently enjoyed by 27 million UK citizens, thanks to the EHIC, will cease after Brexit, it said.

While we applaud the spirit underlying the Government’s ambition to maintain reciprocal healthcare arrangements, including the EHIC, post-Brexit, it is difficult to square this with ending freedom of movement of people from the EU.