EU expats in Britain to be forced to pay for NHS treatment after no-deal Brexit

Published:  16 Aug at 6 PM
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UK hospital managements have been told EU expats must prove their right to free treatment should a no-deal Brexit be the final result.

Warnings have now been sent out to hospital managers to prepare to charge EU expats for formerly free medical and surgical procedures immediately after exit day. With only one million EU expats out of the total of three million now registered for settled status, the decision is now sparking claims of a hostile post-Brexit environment for formerly welcome EU expatriates.
Immediately, civil rights groups began criticising the measure as being poorly planned and likely to lead to hospital staff spending valuable time carrying out thousands of immigration checks.

Representative of the 3Million campaign group Maike Bohn called the move outrageous and discriminatory, adding it will lead to a hostile environment for a massive number of EU nationals who have the right to free NHS care but can’t prove it. Those who’ve registered and those who haven’t will form two separate groups likely to be indistinguishable by medical professionals, leading to people being denied the essential care they’re entitled to receive.

Dr David Wrigley, chair of the British Medical Association, told the media the plan is simply another illustration of the British government’s poorly planned, chaotic result culminating in a no-deal Brexit. Hospital staff, he said, will be forced to determine expats’ birthplaces before deciding whether or not they’re eligible for free care, adding that NHS staff are already stretched to the limit,with wrong decisions possibly leading to severe consequences or even deaths.

According to Tory MP Alberto Costa, Vote Leave campaigners promised to protect EU expats’ rights, with forcing them to prove their rights a dereliction and breach of the commitment. He also pointed out that the decision would threaten the rights of the over one million British expats living in EU member states, as reciprocal healthcare agreements would not be able to be put in place. Guidelines issued by the Department of Health now specify that, should a no-deal Brexit occur, EU citizens would be forced to pay for medical treatment should a reciprocal agreement not have been made.
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