EU citizens who arrive in the UK after a No Deal Brexit will have to pay for treatment on the , Government documents revealed today.
Britain is currently trying to arrange reciprocal agreements with EU states for after it leaves that would also ensure Britons abroad are also able to access medical treatment for free, but these have yet to all be agreed.
While EU citizens currently living in Britain will continue to be eligible for free care, new arrivals and tourists will have to fund their own treatment if the UK quits on October 31 without a deal, guidance from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
The document tells NHS trusts they need to prepare to start charging ‘immediately after exit day’ on Halloween.
‘In the absence of a reciprocal healthcare agreement with an EU country or a broader agreement with Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland, after exit day new visitors from that country to the UK will no longer automatically be entitled to free NHS-funded healthcare in England,’ it says.
‘They will be chargeable at the standard NHS tariff unless they fall within one of the existing exemptions.
‘They may, however, choose to use private healthcare, or travel insurance to recover costs paid to the NHS for treatment received.’
EU citizens already living in the UK will continue to qualify for free NHS treatment, subject to the same rules on eligibility in place now.
MailOnline understands this involves proof of residency or a utility bill and that no one will be refused emergency care.
The Liberal Democrats accused Boris Johnson of reneging on a promise to maintain the status quo after Brexit.
The party’s home affairs spokesman Ed Davey said: ‘This policy demonstrates that Boris Johnson has no intention of honouring the promise he made to the 3.6 million EU citizens living in the UK.
‘Both the Leave campaign and the Conservative Government promised that their rights would not change after Brexit, but this policy would deprive more than 2 million of their right to NHS care, free at the point of use.
‘The Government says EU citizens have until the end of 2020 to apply for Settled Status, even if we crash out of the EU without a deal, but now we discover it plans to subject them to the Conservatives’ Hostile Environment as of November 1 this year.
A DHSC spokesewoman said: ‘We can completely reassure EU citizens currently living in the UK before or on October 31 that they will still be able to access free healthcare on the NHS after we leave the EU on 31 October, whatever the circumstances.
‘How they prove their eligibility for NHS treatment will not change, regardless of whether they have applied to the EU settlement scheme.’