The BMA believes that retaining existing reciprocal healthcare arrangements, or the agreement of comparable alternatives, should be an important consideration for the UK government as negotiations continue with the EU.

If access to reciprocal healthcare schemes is not retained or suitably replaced, and if the rights of EEA and UK citizens living abroad are compromised, the impact on them and on the NHS would be significant.

Key points:

  • The retention or comparable replacement of reciprocal healthcare arrangements and securing access to healthcare for both UK and EU citizens should be an important consideration in the Brexit negotiations
  • Access to healthcare for UK citizens residing in the EU or EU citizens residing in the UK should not be used as a bargaining chip in those negotiations
  • An assessment should be carried out on the impact of the loss of reciprocal care arrangements on patients, with particular focus on pensioners and individuals with disabilities
  • Any alternative cost-recovery systems introduced post-Brexit should not place an administrative burden on doctors or allied health professionals
  • A full assessment of the impact of losing access to reciprocal arrangements on the NHS and HSCNI should be produced
Transitional Justice Institute CAJ