The Government of Gibraltar has regretted that Spain has decided not to extend the reciprocal healthcare agreements that are in place until 30 June this year, it said in a statement.
The reciprocal healthcare arrangements with the European Union came to an end on 31 December 2020 as a result of Brexit, but with Spain this was tempered by a bridging measure introduced in accordance with Gibraltar’s unilateral arrangements.
Specifically, reciprocal health care was extended until 30 June 2022, and at last Monday’s Council of Ministers meeting, the Spanish government decided not to extend the extension.
The Gibraltarian authorities point out in their communiqué that they would have preferred to maintain the agreements “which, they say, profoundly affect citizens on both sides of the border in such essential matters as health care”.
Noting that the Gibraltar government was prepared to maintain the arrangements, however, on the basis of reciprocity, “it has no choice but to suspend them as well”.
As a result, Gibraltarian residents will no longer be able to access free healthcare in Spain during a temporary stay and from 1 July they will have to ensure that they have travel insurance with medical cover. Similarly, the Gibraltar Health Authority will no longer provide free healthcare to visitors to Gibraltar covered by the Spanish social security system.
Yesterday, Comisiones Obreras issued a note urging the Spanish authorities to respond to the thousands of cross-border workers who work in Gibraltar, reside in Spain and are EU citizens, by putting in place mechanisms to guarantee their health care.
The Government sub-delegation in Cádiz sent a message of reassurance to European citizens living in Spain and working in Gibraltar who, in the last few hours, feared they would be left without free health cover on the Spanish side of the fence, pointing out that none of them will lose their free care.