Tuesday, 26 February 2019
Department of Health
386. To ask the Minister for Health further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 322 and 331 of 19 February 2019, the details of the comprehensive and co-ordinated set of preparations to ensure continuity of health service post-Brexit; and the work undertaken by the HSE with regard to same to date. [9534/19]
My Department continues to work intensively with other Government Departments on all aspects of Brexit planning particularly the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Department is represented at all relevant sectoral working groups and is cooperating fully with colleagues across Government.
The Irish and UK Governments are committed to maintaining access to health services currently available under the Common Travel Area for both Irish and UK residents. Work is currently ongoing between Irish and UK officials on the preservation of access to health services which have been facilitated by the Common Travel Area.
There has been extensive engagement between Department of Health officials in Ireland and the UK to scope out the extent of reciprocal healthcare arrangements that are to be maintained post-Brexit. Working Groups on reciprocal healthcare and cross-border healthcare have facilitated discussions on the maintenance of healthcare arrangements. A number of key meetings have been held between officials from my Department, Northern Ireland and the UK to advance this.
Separately, officials from my Department continue to work closely with the HSE which has facilitated the identification of healthcare arrangements that are likely to be impacted by Brexit. This engagement has also led to the development of a number of statistical reports for the Department on the activity and spend levels associated with the EU Treatment Abroad Scheme and the EU Cross-Border Directive.
In addition, a significant body of work has been undertaken by my Department to determine the necessary legislative changes that may be required to maintain access to healthcare arrangements in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
The Government, on Friday 22 Feb 2019, published the ‘Withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Consequential Provisions) Bill 2019’.
Part 2 of the Bill deals with healthcare arrangements with the UK post-Brexit and contains provisions to allow me to make Orders and Regulations to enable necessary healthcare arrangements to be maintained between Ireland and the UK in a no-deal scenario, including those existing arrangements which enable access to health services in the UK for persons in the State.
Intensive work is currently underway within my Department to draft the necessary statutory instrument(s), that may be required in the event of a no-deal Brexit.