New warning estimates hundreds of thousands of returning British expats will wreck the NHS

Published:  7 Dec at 6 PM
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Government officials are warning a no-deal Brexit will result in hundreds of thousands of British expats flooding back to the home country.

According to the UK’s Office of National Statistics, some 800,000 British citizens are living in European Union member states, with 25 per cent over retirement age and around 60,000 aged 15 or younger. A recently-released policy statement from the UK’s Brexit department stated all returnees would be entitled to welfare payments, schooling and housing as are all British citizens living in the UK. Should even half of the total British expat community be forced to return to the UK as a result of a no-deal Brexit, the country’s social services including schools and social housing as well as the NHS could well buckle under the strain.

The policy statement included a reassurance that vital access to free healthcare is essential for repatriating British expats, and would be provided on the same basis as to already-resident UK citizens. It didn’t mention the present rule that, in the case of Brits returning home after living permanently overseas, there is a compulsory six-month delay before incoming citizens can access free NHS services. As regards access to benefits and housing as well as pensions drawn whilst overseas, arrangements will be made to ensure the continuance of vital payments of all benefits due. The statement also mentioned extra support for returning UK citizens making new claims, such as those who reached retirement age whilst still living in the EU.

Whist the information in the policy paper may reassure a number of those affected, strong concerns are also being raised about the effect on the UK’s already failing NHS services, especially as existing staff shortages have been made much worse by the high numbers of EU-born medical professionals returning to their own countries due to fears of the Brexit effect on their lives. MP and campaigner for Best for Britain Layla Moran told reporters the expected post-Brexit influx of huge numbers of Britons is a major threat to the survival of the NHS in its present form, and schools already full to the point of bursting will not be able to cope with a massive influx of formerly expatriate children.

The warning comes as the British parliament is embroiled in five days of debate over a deal which has attracted huge criticism across the country as ell as in parliament and is resulting in many former ‘leave’ voters changing sides as a matter of common sense and fear for Britain’s future as a world leader.
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