Legislation will protect Scots who access healthcare in Europe – Freeman

Legislation is being introduced to protect Scottish residents who access cross-border healthcare in Europe in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The legislation will ensure there is no interruption to healthcare arrangements if the UK leaves the EU.

The Scottish Government said the new regulations would see current arrangements remain in place for a transitional period until December 31 2020 with European Economic Area (EEA) countries that want to continue taking part in reciprocal healthcare arrangements.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said: “While Westminster remains in chaos, the Scottish Government is continuing to do everything we can to protect the rights of Scottish residents.

“It is unacceptable that the UK Government continues to ignore the wishes and interests of Scotland and has not yet ruled out a ‘no-deal’ Brexit.

“In these circumstances we have no choice but to introduce these regulations, which will protect people who have arranged treatment overseas but have yet to receive it, or have yet to claim reimbursement.

“They will also allow Scottish residents to continue to access cross-border healthcare in the EEA, and will allow citizens from other EEA countries to access treatment here, as far as that can be achieved.

“We are doing everything we can go protect citizens’ rights and also to ensure that EEA nationals living in Scotland have full access to NHS healthcare without restriction.”

Currently, eligible patients have the right to choose to receive treatment in other EEA countries and claim reimbursement from their home healthcare system on return.