A REVIEW into the health care risks posed by a no-deal Brexit is being carried out by Warrington clinical commissioning group (CCG).

Under current EU law, EU citizens benefit from rights to reciprocal health care when they are in any of the union’s member states.

The arrangements allow citizens of EU nations to access health and social care services while in any of the other EU nations, on the same basis as a resident of that nation – at no, or low, cost.

However, once the UK leaves the EU, the current rights will come to an end – unless the UK and EU agree to continue, or replace, them.

CCGs have received operational guidance to support planning and preparation requirements for all Brexit scenarios.

It covers areas including the supply of medicines and vaccines, workforce and reciprocal health care.

During Warrington CCG’s governing body meeting on Wednesday, clinical chief officer Dr Andrew Davies said Matt Hancock, secretary of state for health and social care, has asked the commissioning group to carry out a review of the risks a no-deal Brexit poses to communities.

He added: “One we are likely to factor in is overseas residents of the EU, who may be elderly and retired overseas but still have residential status, mainly to come back.

“Currently, we haven’t been funding their health care because that has been covered under reciprocal arrangements with the EU, other than the six weeks that they probably spend in the UK and that is unquantified.

“We would have to pick up that health care, which is something that has not been in our underlying performance so far.

“There are some gains as well because I would assume, if the reciprocal arrangements end, we would have the overseas charges.

“There are patients that we treat, who are EU residents, that we pay for – that is about £500,000 a year for Warrington CCG that we spend.”

In the Department of Health and Social Care’s EU exit operational readiness guidance, it says, in a no-deal scenario, UK nationals resident in the EU, European Economic Area and Switzerland ‘may experience limitations’ to their access to health care services.

It adds: “The Government is therefore seeking to protect current reciprocal health care rights through transitional bilateral agreements with other member states.”