A warning issued earlier this week from the UK government that retirees living in EU states could lose their free healthcare sent shock waves to the estimated 190,000 British pensioners who retired to Spain, France, Italy and other EU states.
But on Wednesday an Embassy spokesperson insisted: “It is a priority for the UK’s Department of Health, and for the British Embassy in Madrid, to ensure UK nationals living or working in the EU can continue to access the healthcare they need as we exit the EU.
“We are working closely with Spain to make sure patients can continue to access healthcare, whatever the outcome.
“The Spanish government has already announced that it is planning contingency measures to guarantee healthcare provisions to UK nationals living in Spain starting on the date of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU if there is no agreement, on a reciprocal basis.”
The statement refers to an announcement from the Spanish government earlier this month that in the case of a no-deal Brexit, bilateral efforts were being made to guarantee the healthcare arrangements of UK nationals in Spain.
But they said that such an agreement would have to be on a reciprocal basis to also guarantee healthcare for those Spanish residents in the UK.
Earlier this month Spain’s government launched a special Brexit information page on their website where they update on the latest regulations concerning Brits in Spain and Spaniards residing in the UK.
In one piece of good news, last week Spain and the UK signed a reciprocal agreement to guarantee voting rights after the March 29th Brexit deadline.
This will mean British residents in Spain can continue to vote in municipal elections and stand as candidates for their local council even after Brexit. But they will have no vote in regional or national elections.