“Healthcare is not under threat for the 71,000 Britons issued with a health card,” Ximo Puig, the regional president from the Spanish socialist party (PSOE) said, insisting that universal healthcare was a right for every Valencian citizen and would continue to be so, whether a Brexit withdrawal agreement was struck or not.
Puig said that around 71,000 Brits were currently registered in the Valencia region and had been issued with health cards and they should not fear that they would become void after March 29th..
“No Briton will lose (Valencian) citizenship in terms of the basic right to healthcare,” he said on Tuesday, following an inter-departmental meeting to analyse the effects of Brexit of those living in the Valencia region.
La posición cambiante del Reino Unido respecto al Brexit nos empuja a desarrollar diferentes respuestas a cada uno de los escenarios posibles. Por ese motivo prestaremos asesoramiento a las empresas afectadas y pondremos en marcha una plataforma online de información para ellas pic.twitter.com/w4c5niMpVI
— Ximo Puig (@ximopuig) February 12, 2019
Apart from the 71,000 Brits officially registered as resident in Valencia – the majority of whom live along the coast in Alicante province – around 100,000 British visitors to the region receive healthcare while on holiday.
Valencia remains one of the most popular destinations in Spain for British residents and visitors alike. Last year, 37 percent of the 9.2 million visitors to the region came from the UK.
Puig said that in return for treating Brits at its health centres and hospitals, the region of Valencia claims approximately €75 million a year from the UK.
He said that “the Generalitat (Regional government) has the political will to formalize a bilateral agreement” with the United Kingdom, where some 10,000 Valencians live, to continue receiving economic compensation for the aforementioned universal health care”.
“Even in the worst case scenario of a hard Brexit, Brits can continue with their status as Valencians, and that means free healthcare,” he emphasized.