01 April 2011
Islanders who need medical treatment while visiting the UK will now have access to free healthcare following the reinstatement of the reciprocal health agreement (RHA) with the UK.
Jersey’s Health and Social Services Minister, Deputy Anne Pryke, signed the agreement this morning (Friday 1 April), which comes into effect immediately.
The restoration of the agreement means that Islanders who fall ill in the UK and need medical treatment in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland will not have to pay.
Under the new agreement, the UK will treat Jersey residents as if they are UK residents and vice versa. It was tabled in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords this morning, and a copy was signed in Jersey by the Health and Social Services Minister.
It’s 2 years since the RHA with the UK was lost. Speaking about the restored agreement, Deputy Pryke said: "Last week I received a proposed final version of the agreement, and this has led to the restored agreement being signed today. It is wonderful news both for Islanders and UK residents and brings them peace of mind.
“I am conscious that it has taken a great deal of work both on the part of officials in Jersey, and from the Department of Health in the UK to restore this agreement, and I would like to thank them sincerely for their work and support in restoring it.
“In particular, the Director of International Affairs, Tom Walker, and the Deputy Chief Executive of the Health and Social Services Department, Richard Jouault, have had a number of meetings to get us to this final stage.
“It has not been a simple process to restore the RHA, but it has been an essential one. I know that Islanders consider this an important agreement and it is also useful for friends and family in the UK to have peace of mind. Now, UK visitors can come to Jersey, and Islanders can travel to the UK with the freedom of knowing they will not be charged for hospital care.”
Although the new RHA covers treatment, it will not cover the costs associated with repatriation in the event that an Islander taken ill in the UK is unable to return to Jersey on a conventional flight.
Deputy Pryke added: “We therefore recommend that, wherever possible, Islanders still obtain travel insurance to cover them in this eventuality.”
Download Jersey-UK reciprocal health agreement (size 28kb)