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Facultad de Derecho
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Recortes de Prensa

Healthcare changes force Brits back to the UK

Round Town News, 24 | 11 | 2009 - Noticia

Hundreds of expats face an onward struggle to meet the cost of health care following the implementation of the new Government payment scheme. The RTN has been inundated with emails and telephone calls from expats who are faced with an unwelcome return to the UK, as they simply cannot afford to pay the quarterly quota which will entitle them to make use of the Spanish National Health Service

One such couple is Sohail and Julie Gill, who relocated to the Costa Blanca in 2004 and had never looked back- until now. As early retirees, they obtained a form E106 which provided cover for 12 months, and were later issued with a temporary SIP card, under the jurisdiction of the ‘Newcastle Letter’, which they were informed, should be renewed every six months.

They made little use of the system until June 2008, when Julie developed a skin complaint and was referred to an allergy specialist at the Hospital in Torrevieja, who concluded that she had experienced an allergic reaction to olives. She was prescribed a course of injections, which should be taken periodically over the next three years, and instructed to have a blood test every six months so that any alterations might be controlled.


In May of this year Julie went to the Hospital to make her next appointment, to be told that there was an irregularity with her SIP card which should be verified at her Health Centre in Cabo Roig before she would be granted an appointment. She went directly to the Health Centre and was there told that her access to healthcare had been withdrawn.

She said that the Receptionist was very vague in her explanation of why this should be, but mentioned that it was connected to changes concerning the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), a card that should be carried by any holidaymaker or temporary visitor who may require assistance from the state health system while in another EU country. In a state of anxiety and confusion, Julie contacted Martyn Standing, Advisor for the Pensions, Benefits and Healthcare Team, who is based at the British Consulate in Alicante, who in turn contacted the Conselleria de Sanidad in Valencia to determine what the problem was.

Julie said that it materialized that there had been a mishap with her file as the Conselleria had thought that she had registered for cover on the EHIC not the E106 and Newcastle letter. They admitted their mistake, but refused to reinstate her cover due to the imminent changes in the system.


Mr Standing explained to representatives at the Conselleria that Julie was under a Specialist at Torrevieja Hospital and receiving on-going treatment, so it was eventually agreed that temporary cover would be granted until the new system was implemented. Mr Standing instructed Julie to go to her Health Centre and make an appointment to get her injection as usual but when she got there she was informed that her file had been wiped from the system, so she must start again with a consultation and referral from her Doctor.

The Doctor saw her and approved the continuation of the injections, but said that she would not be entitled to any further blood tests without a valid SIP card. Julie said that “I was devastated and felt completely betrayed by the country that I now call home. I was not happy to just keep taking the injections without the blood control, as this was clearly preferable or would not have been stipulated in the first place”. She said that she made several attempts to contact Mr Standing to advise him of the unsuitable outcome, but could not through, so eventually ceased taking the injections.


As a result Julie’s skin is now in very poor condition and she has been forced to restrict her day to day activities. She would not be eligible for Private Health Insurance as they refuse to cover for ‘pre-existing conditions’, and cannot afford to pay the €270 per quarter requested by the Valencian Health Authority, so sees that her only option is to return to the UK and re-register on the system there. She said that “The Valencian Government does not make any concession for the increased revenue that expats have brought into the country. I do not want to go back to the UK but have no choice. It is a heartbreaking situation and seems that every eventuality will end in tears.”

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