Health - RightsInfo

Brexit And Human Rights

Ever since the UK voted to leave the European Union in June 2016 there’s been an intense discussion about what this could mean for our rights. Here’s everything we know so far.

We’ll be updating this page as new developments break

So, What’s The Issue In A Nutshell?

We’re all entitled to a right to health. Being able to access healthcare is a key part of this, and it’s up to our Government to make sure this happens in the UK. Up until now though, we’ve also been able to count on free to access healthcare when traveling across Europe, thanks to the European Union. Anyone from a member state can sign up for an EHIC card, which means the NHS will fund the cost of treatment they end up needing while out of the country. However, it’s unclear what will happen to the system after we leave the bloc.

Right, What Are The UK Saying About It?

Perhaps somewhat expectedly, the UK doesn’t want to leave the scheme. Speaking in June this year, Brexit Secretary David Davis said he wanted a continuation of the service. If this wasn’t possible he also backed the idea of providing a scheme unilaterally, making arrangements with countries individually, and coughing up the bill.

And The EU? What Do They Think?

The European Union hasn’t been quite as forthcoming with a deal. In July officials in Brussels told their British counterparts Brexit would mean the UK is thrown out of the scheme as soon as it officially leaves the EU. Millions of people in the UK use the scheme every year, so losing it would have a direct impact on a lot of people.

Where Have We Got So Far?

Progress is being made on this one, but the details are still a bit hazy and have been misrepresented. David Davis announced in August that both sides had agreed to keep the EHIC scheme. However, while it will continue to apply to Brits who live abroad at the time of our exit, it currently isn’t guaranteed for people who live in the UK. More negotiations are underway.

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