Philip Dunne speaks in debate on reciprocal healthcare

26th March 2019

Philip Dunne speaks in a debate on reciprocal healthcare agreements with other countries and international organisations and calls for such arrangements to be extended to the Channel Islands.

The hon. Lady is pointing out the disparity in payments between the UK and the EU. Recognising that there are considerably more EU users of the NHS than UK users of health services on the continent, why is it that the Labour party, in the past, criticised the NHS and the Department of Health and Social Care for trying to recover sums due from EU citizens for taking advantage of our health service?

I think the objections raised by the Labour party in the past were based on the methodology used and the potential abuse of personal data, but we would fully support an efficient system to recover moneys owed to the UK.


My hon. Friend is generous in giving way. In talking about other Commonwealth nations to which we would like to extend such arrangements, does he agree that the dominions of the Channel Islands, which do not currently have reciprocal status with the UK, should not be ignored and should be a matter of importance once the EU arrangements have been completed?

As always, I thank my right hon. Friend for his incisive intervention. The Channel Islands might use our currency and, in many ways, fly our flag, but people forget they have a very different constitutional status and are not part of the European Union. For some visitors, it can be a surprise that there is not a reciprocal agreement. There is a reciprocal arrangement with Gibraltar, for example, and it makes eminent sense to try to have such an arrangement between the UK and the Channel Islands, not least given the strong cultural links and the fact that many families split their time between the mainland and the islands.


Would the hon. Lady account for the massive diaspora of Scots all around the world as a comment on the mist and greyness of Scotland’s location? Why does she think so many Scots live abroad?

The right hon. Gentleman probably would not like me to get into the clearances of the 17th and 18th centuries when people were burnt out of their villages and put on boats, or when people were transported for criminal activities. There are all sorts of reasons why Scots have ended up all over the world, and they are not all about the weather.



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