The UK has left the EU: What you need to know

The UK left the EU on Friday 31 January. This article shares what you need to know about medicine supplies, NHS services and accessing healthcare when you’re on holiday in the EU.

The Westminster government has reached a deal with the EU and the Withdrawal Agreement Act is now law, so the government have stopped their preparations for a ‘no deal’ Brexit. 

Due to negotiating further agreements with the EU this year, circumstances will change. We’ll share information with you about what any further changes will mean for people with Parkinson’s and their carers and families.  

Medicine supply

Pharmaceutical companies who were stockpiling 6 weeks worth of medicines and medical devices will now wind these down over the next 3-4 months. This means that medicine supplies should continue as normal.

NHS services

EU exit planning across all NHS bodies has stopped. However, each NHS organisation will retain a key contact who will be available to comment on proposals negotiated during the transition period and how they will affect NHS services.

Reciprocal healthcare

Reciprocal healthcare is for UK-insured people who live in the EU whose healthcare the UK funds, using an S1 form, a UK-issued European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) or for posted workers or planned treatments using the S2 route.

There will be no changes to accessing healthcare in the EU for pensioners, workers, students or tourists and other temporary visitors from the European Economic Area (EEA)/Switzerland, EHIC holders or those receiving planned treatment until 31 December 2020.

Please note that from 1 February 2020 all EHICs issued will not have the European mark. Both the new and the current design will be accepted for treatment within the EEA and Switzerland until 31 December 2020.  

If someone doesn’t have their EHIC when they travel, they are still covered by the scheme and can apply for a Provisional Replacement Card if they need treatment.  

The government continues to negotiate future arrangements for reciprocal healthcare with the EU. We’ll keep you updated on any developments.

What should people with Parkinson’s and carers do?

  • We would encourage people to keep ordering your repeat prescriptions and take your medicines as normal.

  • Share any issues you’re having about accessing medications with us by contacting our helpline on [email protected] or 0800 800 0303. You should provide details on where you live (or work if you’re a Parkinson’s health professional) and the name, strength and supplier of the medication. 

  • If you’re planning to travel to the EU after 31 December 2020, please make sure your travel insurance covers you and not rely solely on the EHIC, as it is not a replacement for travel insurance. People travelling to EU and non-EU countries on holiday should continue to buy comprehensive travel insurance.    

We will continue to work with relevant government departments and pharmaceutical companies to ensure that people with Parkinson’s are able to access the medicines, medical devices and services they rely on.

If you have any questions or concerns please contact our helpline on [email protected] or 0800 800 0303. 

This news story was originally published on 27 January 2020. The story was updated on 12 February 2020 to include the change of the look of EHIC cards.