How bad could British healthcare get for its citizens abroad post-Brexit?

Teresa May_2017_

EU Council, 2017

This article was exclusively written for the Sting by one of our passionate writers, Mrs Rachael Everly. The opinions expressed within reflect only the writer’s views and not The European Sting’s position on the issue.

Brexit was a surprising yet saddening event for most people in the country. However, it is a reality that many British have come face to face along with the rest of the world. There is no turning back from that and the people of this great country are going to suffer its consequences. A speculation was made into how much it can affect the economy of the country, and post-Brexit results actually showed that a falling economy was indeed a reality. The value of the British pound dropped and England faces a loss of a lot of benefits that it enjoyed staying in the European Union.

There is one aspect that people rarely talk about of this awful situation, which is the system of British healthcare. As it was advertised pre-Brexit that a total of 350Million pounds is given to EU to aid Brussels, and instead, it could have been helped to build a hospital in their own country if it had not been in the EU. This proposition hasn’t come true yet and there are no hospitals being built from the money saved from that area.  On the contrary, there are multiple lives that are going to be affected adversely in terms of healthcare especially the citizens who are living in other European countries.

Spain is home to over 100,000 British citizens who are on their pensions; but due to England’s exit from the EU, those citizens cannot enjoy the same advantages that they had before. These people aren’t the ones who were rich and could afford to move abroad, they made this choice of shifting since they could afford to live in Spain as opposed to the expenses in the UK. Now, the patients who lack the financial resources for private treatment would be left without any healthcare system and their treatments would come to a complete halt. They would only be able to continue their treatment if they come back to Britain and take up permanent residence in their own country.

Prior to this, a system was set up which benefitted those people abroad known as the NHS treatment. It facilitated people who held a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) when visiting the UK temporarily. That scheme will be permanently stopped when the UK leaves the European Union entirely. The British living abroad won’t be assisted by the country they inhabit because they don’t have permanent residence there and neither have they provided any kind of service to that society.

Furthermore, this is not only about the senior population of the UK living in other European countries, but also the younger generations. The British, who have a lifestyle in their neighboring countries, would also run the risk of not being able to afford medical bills. People with families and kids who have medical conditions can also see the risk of their medical expenses increase once they are taken off Britain’s protection.

A similar situation is also feared by British living in France and can have the same consequences as British citizens living in Spain. Not only would these people be deprived of a good medical plan, but they would soon come back to Britain for the rest of their lives to gain the benefits of a healthcare plan. This is not only going to be a tremendous change for their lives but can really upset the medical system and may have the potential to change the prices of treatments. The only hope for the UK is to build a concrete plan and work with its European neighbors to support its citizens living in their countries.

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Comments

  1. naimah yianni says:

    This article is quite factually incorrect. At the moment we don´t know what is going to happen to healthcare and we don´t know what will happen to the EHIC card as there are other countries which are part of the EHIC scheme who are not actually EU. I live in Spain, and if you work here and pay tax, your healthcare will carry on as before. To live here it is a legal requirement to be a resident, by the way, so in fact most people who live here are permanent residents.

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