The uncertainty of the current political situation is a serious concern for both national and EU students. While we wait to find out whether the EU will offer an extension, if the Prime Minister’s deal will be approved in Parliament or when will be the next a general election, the worst conceivable outcome – leaving the European Union without an agreement – is still a possibility. To ease your mind, here is everything you need to know regarding access to medicines and healthcare in the event of a hard Brexit.
The government has stated it is working with the NHS and suppliers to “ensure medicines and medical products continue to be available”. Contingency measures have been implemented, include the “building up of extra supplies, the purchase of extra space on ferries for rapid importing of supplies and close working with medical suppliers”.
According to the NHS, ways of making sure that everyone gets their medicine if there is a temporary disruption in the supply have been “tried-and-tested”.
“If your medicine is temporarily unavailable, the NHS will work with you to prescribe the best alternative”.
The UK government will be aiming to agree on reciprocal healthcare arrangements either with the EU or with individual countries if there is a ‘no-deal Brexit’. Reciprocal healthcare provides urgent, immediate or planned medical treatment at a reduced cost or, in some cases, free.
EU students currently studying in the UK can continue to use their European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or Provisional Replacement Certificate (PRC) to access free NHS healthcare. However, they must have begun a course of education or training in England before the UK leaves the EU. This will apply until the end of your course, even if it finishes after Brexit day.
You can apply for or renew an EHIC using the official EHIC online application form. This is free of charge. Entitlement to an EHIC is not based on your nationality but on insurability under EU law. You should contact the relevant authority in the country you are insured by and request an EHIC.
For any students starting their education or training in England after the UK leaves the EU, their EHIC may not be valid. The government is instructing that these students should buy insurance to cover their healthcare, as they would if visiting another non-EU country.
The UK has agreed to citizens’ rights agreements with Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland, which will apply if there is a no-deal Brexit. These agreements mean that citizens of these countries living lawfully in the UK on the day the UK leaves the EU will be able to use the NHS as they do now. However, the agreements do not cover the citizens of these countries who move to the UK after Brexit.
DMU has recently stated that they are doing all they can “to mitigate and reduce the impact of this outcome on university life and the safety and wellbeing of our students and staff”.
If you have any concerns regarding the possibility of a ‘no-deal Brexit’ please contact the International Student Support on firstname.lastname@example.org or De Montfort Surgery on 0116 222 7272 or email DeMontfortSurgery@leics.nhs.uk