EU Exit – guidance for our patients

Travel Guidance

EU Exit news continues to be a prominent feature in the headlines and as we approach the end of the Transition phase, it’s is important to keep in mind that it’s ‘business as usual’ for the NHS. 

As a patient, you may find this advice and guidance useful. 

The Government, NHS and Public Health England have been working together to ensure medicines and vaccines will be available as needed after the UK leaves the EU. Medicines and Vaccines brought in from the EU are covered by the Government’s contingency  plans and can be imported at short notice, including by air freight for products with a short shelf life. 

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), continues to engage directly with industry suppliers, trade associations, NHS Providers and other government departments to ensure continued supplies of medicines, vaccines, medical devices and consumables. 

For patients who are considering travelling abroad, the overriding advice from the UK Government is to take out adequate travel insurance to cover any medical emergencies. After the UK leaves the EU, European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) cards may not be valid. Please visit the Healthcare when travelling abroad (NHS page) for further information.

Healthcare cover will change for EU citizens who visit the UK after 31 December 2020 and whose country does not have a reciprocal healthcare agreement with the UK. Those visitors will be charged for accessing NHS healthcare, unless it is a service that would be free of charge for everyone , or they are exempt from charging.

Patients involved in clinical trials and other research should not be concerned about the potential impacts of EU Exit. The NHS and the Government is working with organisations running clinical trials to ensure that research continues as normal in the coming months. 

General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) will still apply after the UK leaves the EU. Steps are being put in place by NHS organisations to ensure any patient data transfers are able to continue uninterrupted. 

All information published by the DHSC and other parts of Government on EU Exit can be viewed on www.gov.uk.