UK warned over Healthcare and NHS if Brexit ‘goes wrong’


Jun 9, 2017
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It looks as though a great deal more Brits may be looking to get private health insurance quotes if a deal can’t be done to protect the healthcare and support received by expat pensioners after Brexit. With waiting times already high, an influx of expats looking to return home could send costs spiralling, hitting the NHS hard.

Expat Healthcare  

Currently there are around 190,000 pensioners living abroad who by means of the ‘S1’ scheme have access to the same health care rights as locals in other EU member states. If post Brexit, these same health care rights come to an end, independent health charity The Nuffield Trust warns that expats could look to be treated on ‘home soil’, doubling costs to £1 billion; something that has already been identified by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt who told a newspaper recently that the ‘NHS could suffer is Brexit goes wrong’.

Impact to the NHS

The Nuffield Trust added that in the extreme case that all the expat pensioners returned to the UK, they would fill approximately 900 NHS beds a year which means a requirement for 1,600 doctors, nurses and other hospital staff to provide the care needed.

Staffing could also be affected post Brexit if migration of workers from EU countries and access to medical supplies may be impacted if the UK leaves the EU’s medical licensing system – a triple whammy.

A picture of good health

Brexit doesn’t necessarily mean that the future is bleak for the NHS though. The UK currently gives around £500 million a year to EU countries that care for expats. On leaving the EU, the UK will stop paying EU membership fees which means additional funds may be available for the NHS; it just depends how high up health care is when it comes to Brexit negotiations. Focusing on the positive, Jeremy Hunt also said that a successful Brexit would be important for maintaining jobs which pay taxes to increase funding for the health service and that a good Brexit will see the economy go from strength to strength.

What are the alternatives?

Of course if you are concerned about the impact wait times and staffing levels with the NHS can have on your health, you can look to private health care or private medical insurance as it is also known. With flexible options available, health insurance isn’t just for those who are financially well off. Instead health insurance plans can be tailored to cover the areas you are more concerned about and by agreeing to certain stipulations, such as an increase in the excess paid or to be treated by the NHS if care is provided within a certain timeframe, you can reduce the price you pay on a monthly basis.

The main thing is to compare health insurance quotes so you can review options available to you with market leading private healthcare providers.    

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Ashley Shepherd is an Over 50s Personal Finance Expert

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