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British pensioners in EU 'face healthcare limbo after Brexit'

British pensioners in EU 'face healthcare limbo after Brexit'
Hundreds of thousands of elderly British people living in EU countries could find themselves in a “very difficult situation” if they fall ill after Brexit. The lack of reciprocal healthcare agreements between the UK and EU countries such as Spain, which is home to more than 100,000 British pensioners, risks leaving patients who cannot afford private treatment in limbo, heard the Health Select Committee. UK citizens who have lived abroad for many years are not eligible for NHS care, so they would not be able to return temporarily to Britain for treatment, said Jean McHale, professor of health law at the University of Birmingham. “They could indeed find themselves in a very, very difficult situation,” she said. “It will need to be sorted out, otherwise there will be practical problems.” Many pensioners living abroad may have no choice but to return permanently to Britain after the country leaves the EU, campaigners have warned. Martin McKee, Professor of European Public Health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said it was “absolutely essential” a system is put in place after Brexit for UK pensioners living in other EU states. “A lot of these people are there on very low incomes, they are aged, and so they’re likely to have health problems in the future,” he said.

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