Legislative Consent Memorandum - Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill 2017-19


Consideration by the Committee

The Committee agreed its approach to the Legislative Consent Memorandum on the Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill at its meeting on 27 November 2018.

The Legislative Consent Memorandum can be found here.

The Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill

The Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill 2017-19 was introduced in the House of Commons on 26 October 2018.  The Bill document and associated documents can be accessed here.

The House of Commons Library briefing on the Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill states that the Bill seeks to safeguard healthcare for 190,000 UK expats living in the EU, and the 50 million UK nationals who travel abroad to EEA countries every year, through agreements with the EU or its Member States. For example, the Bill would establish the basis for a new arrangement allowing the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) scheme to continue, subject to an agreement with the EU. The EHIC currently grants UK nationals access to free or reduced cost healthcare within the EEA, and pays for 250,000 medical treatments each year. For expat UK state pensioners who have chosen to live in the EU, and those intending to retire to the EU, the Bill seeks to safeguard their access to healthcare if there is no EU deal.

The Bill is one of a series of “Brexit Bills” intended to adjust UK legislation for Brexit. The Bill is intended to allow the UK to maintain reciprocal healthcare arrangements with the EU and its member states after Brexit, in the event of either a Brexit deal or no deal scenario. However, the provisions of the Bill are not limited to arrangements with the EU; and the UK Government states that the Bill would also allow the UK to strengthen existing reciprocal healthcare agreements with countries outside the EU, or implement new ones.

The Bill establishes the legal basis for the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to fund and implement reciprocal healthcare schemes and share necessary data after the UK leaves the EU.

The Healthcare (International Arrangements) Bill 2017-19 would give the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care powers to bring in regulations to:

• fund, arrange and make payments in relation to healthcare outside the UK;
• give effect to any healthcare arrangement between the UK and other countries, territories or international organisations (such as the EU); and
• make provision in relation to data processing, which will be necessary to underpin these arrangements and agreements.

The Legislative Consent Memorandum

The LCM was lodged by Jeane Freeman MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport on 6 December 2018.

The LCM process is the mechanism for the Scottish Parliament to give its consent to the UK Government to legislate in the UK Parliament on matters which are within the legislative competence of the Scottish Parliament. Further information on this procedure is available in a short Video on Legislative Consent.

In anticipation of the LCM being lodged, the Committee agreed at its meeting on 27 November 2018 to issue a targeted call for written views to the Director-General for Health and Social Care and Chief Executive of NHSScotland, Department for Work and Pensions and Chief Executives, NHS Boards. 

Letters issued - 27 November 2018:- 

The following responses were received:-

The Committee also agreed to invite Paul Gray, Director-General, Health and Social Care and Chief Executive of NHSScotland to provide oral evidence at its meeting on 11 December 2018:

During the evidence session on 11 December 2018 the Committee raised a number of questions.  We received a response from Paul Gray, Director-General Health and Social Care and Chief Executive of NHSScotland on 12 December 2018.


Following the evidence session on 11 December 2018, the Committee considered and agreed a draft Report on 18 December 2018.

The Report was published on 19 December 2018:

The Committee published a second Report on 11 February 2019 regarding the current and future operation of reciprocal healthcare schemes, namely the arrangements for the charging of European Economic Area (EEA) citizens and non-EEA individuals when using NHS services in Scotland and payment of healthcare costs for Scottish citizens when abroad. You can read the full report via the link below:

The Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport responded to the Committee's Report on 18 February 2019:

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