BBC — Tens of thousands of retired British expats could be forced to return home to use the NHS, if the Brexit deal doesn’t ensure they continue receiving treatment overseas. The move would cost the NHS £500 million a year, and put services under unbearable pressure.
The figures were revealed in a report by Nuffield Trust, which outlined the fact that the UK currently gives about £500 million to EU healthcare systems, as part of a system that ensures that expats can go to any EU member state and receive the same healthcare rights as the local population.
Once this system comes to an end, it could force expats to come back to the UK for this treatment. The report found that this would cost the NHS a total of £1 billion a year – double the cost of treating them overseas.
A Nuffield Trust spokesman said: “It is possible that extra funds could be found for the NHS from any cancellation of Britain’s EU membership fees”.
A Conservative party spokesman said safeguarding the rights of UK nationals in the EU and EU nationals in the UK was “one of our first priorities for the Brexit negotiations”.
Labour have not commented on the Nuffield Trust’s report, but have accused the Conservatives of “starving” the NHS.
The Liberal Democrat leader meanwhile, continues to argue for giving the people a final say on Brexit, “with a chance to remain in the EU”.