Briefing Paper & Draft Recommendations on Brexit, Health and its potential impact on Article 2 of the Windsor Framework
Date produced: September 2023.
Below is a summary of our recommendations and messages.
You can also download the full document through the links provided.
3.4 The NIHRC recommends that the Common Travel Area and rights associated with it are enshrined in law by a comprehensive bilateral treaty to maintain at least the same level of protection as existed on 31 December 2020. That treaty should be incorporated into domestic legislation.
3.5 The NIHRC recommends that the residency requirements for Common Travel Area entitlements relating to cross-border and all-island healthcare are reviewed to ensure that the rights of access are clear, comprehensible and generous.
4.4 The NIHRC recommends that steps are taken to ensure that frontier workers to continue to enjoy at least the same rights as before the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. This includes clarifying the relationship between the Frontier Workers’ Permit Scheme and the CTA rules that govern access to healthcare for frontier workers and ensuring that those who are not obliged to apply for the Scheme are still able enjoy the same right to healthcare in their place of residence and their place of work as before Brexit.
5.4 NIHRC recommends that access to cross-border and all-island healthcare for EU and third-country nationals is clear, comprehensive, and enshrined in law.
5.5 NIHRC recommends that the UK and Irish governments:
(i) clarify existing rules on accessing cross-border and all-island health services for EU and third-country nationals living in NI;
(ii) ensure there are no immigration or visa recognition barriers impeding their access to these services; and
(iii) guarantee that any new all-island or shared services are future-proofed to ensure there are no immigration or visa recognition barriers impeding access to these services.
5.6 The NIHRC recommends that the Department of Health provide clear, accessible and complete information on the right to healthcare post-EU withdrawal, including access to cross-border and island-of-Ireland services to ensure no diminution of the current provision and to protect the right to the highest attainable standard of healthcare.
6.14 The NIHRC recommends that the Department of Justice review the support and assistance provided to potential victims of human trafficking and ensure that it remains in line with the requirements of the Human Trafficking Directive.
6.15 The NIHRC recommends that the Department of Health clarifies and promotes awareness amongst health practitioners, individuals, and representative groups of the rights of potential and confirmed victims of human trafficking and others falling within the scope of Provision of Health Services to Persons Not Ordinarily Resident Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015 (as amended).
7.4 The NIHRC recommends that the Department of Health and health trusts ensure effective steps to identify and minimise procedural barriers to migrant people, regardless of immigration status. This includes introducing guidance for healthcare professionals on providing effective access, strengthening communication between GP services and health trusts and ensuring that patients are not wrongly charged for services.
8.6 The NIHRC recommends that the Department of Health and health trusts clarify the official publicly available legal texts and guidance relating to healthcare and bring these up to date as a matter of urgency. In the absence of a functioning NI Executive, the NIHRC further recommends that the UK Government ensure the legal texts relating to healthcare are updated as a matter of urgency.
8.7 The NIHRC recommends that accurate information on access to healthcare on the island of Ireland, including rights and obligations, is accessible and disseminated in plain language.