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You are in: Jersey > Inside the States > Other Business > Issues > Paying for A&E on holiday in the UK?

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Paying for A&E on holiday in the UK?

The UK wants to end the Health Agreement with Jersey. We find out what this would mean for islanders…

It's probably one of your worst nightmares, and for some it even becomes a reality.

You're on holiday over in the UK and you have an accident or you fall ill.

Perhaps one of the only comforts is the Reciprocal Health Agreement between Jersey and the United Kingdom, which has been in place for more than 40 years.


It means you can be covered by health programmes back here in the island and so won’t have to pay for treatment at a UK hospital.

But, now that is set to come to an end on 31 March 2009. This means that from 1 April most people from Jersey, who visit the UK, whether for business or personal reasons, will have to pay if they need healthcare.

On 14 January 2009, the Right Honourable Dawn Primarolo MP, the Minister of State for the Department of Health, wrote to Jersey’s Chief Minister confirming the UK’s intention to withdraw from the Reciprocal Health Agreement on 31 March 2009.

The decision was taken by the UK Government to end the Reciprocal Health Agreement with Jersey as it was felt the paying any health related charges to Jersey only benefits a small number of UK residents and doesn't represent value for money for the UK tax payer.

We have a list of frequently asked questions compiled by the States of Jersey that explain some of how this will work below:


Q: I’ve been referred for a heart operation in London; will I now have to pay for it?

A: No, these changes will not affect people who are referred for treatment in the UK when what they need is not available in Jersey. Specialist treatment is already paid for by the Health & Social Services Department and this will continue.

Q: My son goes to University in the UK this summer; will he need medical insurance cover?

A: No, full-time Jersey students at universities or colleges in the UK, who are able to prove that their course lasts more than six months, will not have to pay.

Q: If I have to go the Accident & Emergency Department whilst visiting the UK, will I have to pay?

A: No, everyone will still be treated in an A&E Department (or receive similar care in a walk-in centre) without being charged and immediately necessary treatment given by a GP will also be free.

Q: You say A&E treatment is free but what about transport by ambulance?

A: Transport by the ambulance will still be free.

Q: I live in Jersey but work for a UK company. Sometimes I have to go to the UK to work. Will I have to pay if I fall ill while in the UK?

A: No, Jersey residents who are able to prove that that they are working in the UK for a UK employer will not have to pay for healthcare.

Q: I work for a Jersey company but travel often to the UK on business. Will I have to pay if I fall ill while in the UK?

A: If you do not have insurance cover, then you will ahve to pay. You should discuss this issue with your employer.

Q: I run a locally-based company and my staff often travel to the UK on business – will I need to buy travel insurance for them?

A: It depends on the terms and conditions of their employment but it would be advisable to buy insurance.

Q: I am a pensioner and live in Jersey but I grew up in the UK and have a UK pension. Will I have to pay for treatment if I visit my family in the UK?

A: No, if you receive a UK state pension holders you won't have to pay for health treatment while visiting the UK as long as long as you can prove that you have lived in the UK for 10 continuous years or more at some point in the past.

Q: I’ve been living in Jersey for 18 years but was born in the UK and lived there for 20 years. If I need hospital treatment when I go back to the UK to see my family, will I have to pay?

A: Yes, the National Health Service provides healthcare for people who live in the United Kingdom. If you don't normally live there you are not automatically entitled to use the NHS free of charge – regardless of your nationality or whether you hold a British passport or have lived and paid National Insurance contributions and taxes in the UK in the past. You should consider getting travel insurance before you visit the UK.

Q: I’m only working in Jersey for a few years, do I have to pay to be treated in the UK?

A: if you live in Jersey but can prove that you have lived in the UK for 10 years and are spending no more than five years working outside the UK, you won't have to pay.  However, you will need to provide evidence that you're entitled to claim an exemption from charges. This may include, for example, documents that demonstrate 10 years residence in the UK and evidence of working in Jersey for less than five years.


Q: What about travelling to the Isle of Man?

A: The possibility of a separate reciprocal health agreement has been discussed between officials from Jersey and the Isle of Man, so that Jersey visitors to the Isle of Man would be treated as if they were residents of the Isle of Man and only charged for services that Manx residents normally pay. This would also allow Manx visitors to Jersey to be treated as if they were locals.

Q: What about travelling to Guernsey?

A: Jersey already has a reciprocal health agreement with Guernsey.


Q: My daughter grew up in Jersey and has been coming back home with my grandchildren every year for a holiday, will she now need heath insurance?

A: Yes.  All visitors from the UK to Jersey (including family members who no longer reside in Jersey) will have to pay for health treatment in the same way as Jersey visitors to the UK. The UK Government will be advising ALL visitors to Jersey to ensure they have appropriate insurance arrangements.

Q: Will my friends and family need health insurance to come to Jersey on holiday?

A: It is highly advised that they obtain suitable health insurance for their visit.

Q: Does the UK's E111 card cover people coming here on holiday - like it does in EU?

A: No, the E111 cards allow urgent and necessary treatment for UK residents and residents of other EU member states only within the EU; this does not apply to Jersey.


Q: Will I need travel insurance to go to UK on holiday?

A: It is advisable.

Q: What if I have already booked a holiday to the UK – do I still have to get travel insurance?

A: If you want to be covered – yes.

Q: Will I need health insurance if I am working temporarily in UK?

A: It depends on your employment arrangements, but if you are in any doubt, it is advisable to take out adequate health insurance to cover the period you are working.

Q: I have private health insurance – will this cover me in the UK for accidents/unexpected illness?

A: You need to check your policy as they are all different and you may not be covered.

Q: If I break my leg in UK, will I have to show insurance documents before they agree to treat me like in the USA?

A: It will depend on the circumstance and the situation but it is advisable to have your policy details available at all times. Alternatively, you may have to pay and then claim the amount from your insurance policy with evidence of the payments made.

Q: I’m over 65 so won't travel insurance be very expensive?

A: The cost of travel insurance is unique to each and every applicant. The more health complications you have then the more expensive your health insurance will probably be. If you feel it is too expensive you will have to consider the risk of falling ill in the UK and how you would then pay for the associated costs of your treatment.

Q: If I already have annual travel insurance do I need as high a level of cover as I would for other international destinations?

A: Anyone travelling to the UK should check that they are covered for the appropriate level of insurance. While this is a personal choice, it is advised that you make sure you are covered for repatriation as this is often the most expensive element of any charges that may be incurred.


Q: Is there any implication/difference if I get to the UK via another country (e.g. returning from holiday through Heathrow)

A: No, you will always be identified as a non UK resident and will have to pay for any health related charges.

Q: What about if I need a prescription while I'm there or as a result of treatment?

A: If you require a prescription, you will pay the same amount as UK residents.

If you have any further questions or need more advice, email the Health and Social Services Department or call the States of Jersey Customer Services Centre on 01534 445500. 

last updated: 03/03/2009 at 14:04
created: 22/09/2008

Have Your Say

The BBC reserves the right to edit comments submitted.

Ian Everson
What progress has been made What progress has been made to establish a reciprocal health agreement with the Isle of Man and when is it expected to be in force?

Paul Dwyer
It has been stated that if you as a pensioner are in receipt of a UK pension, (as my wife does , albeit a small one) and as she and I have lived in the U.K. for longer than 10 continuous years (we were born in S.Wales and came to Jersey when we were 16 years old)that health treatment in the U.K. would be at no charge to us. Someone has said that if you read deeper into the new decision by the U.K. that you also need to spend at least 6 months of every year in the U.K. We have asked a lady at Social Security if this is true but she did not know and also couldn't suggest who to ask to find out. If anyone does know the definitive answer we would like to know as I'm sure many other pensioners in similar circumstances would.

On checking with our insurer (we have a world multitrip cover) we discover that we can travel anywhere in europe for FULL cover but to UK we don't get the full cover. Yes, the insurer said that as far as they are concerned, for us in Jersey, the UK is not part of Europe!!! Confused? So are we?

Has any one got any recommendations on local insurance agents who have got our unique situation covered...thanks

I am a Jersey resident however i dont see what all the big fuss is about,in the end of the day i pay my taxes in Jersey therefore i dont expect nothing for free in the UK -in case a lot of people in here is not aware "Nothing comes for free" so please do move on from your petty excuses and start paying like evryone else around the worldd does

Re: Pensioners being entitled to free treatment asabove, note this also includes free treatment for members of their family if they are travelling with the pensioner.

Folks,this shenanigan comes into effect on April 1st - ineteresting timing, but, apparently, no joke!!!

It is not so much the ending of The Agreement rather the way in which it has been carried out. Our UK masters, yet again, tell us what to do without so much as a discussion. The UK Labour Government has no respect for us whatsoever. A serious look at forming an Independant Channel Islands is way overdue.

having had annual travel insurance for a few years, something I would like to point out is that the vast majority of policies do not cover you for a day trip or if you do not have pre booked for accomodation. Its not just the cost, but the level of cover many companies will not cover you for pre existing conditions either, or even if you have had something years ago but now are okay, but if something happens again whilst you are away no cover ! Someone mentioned the states taking the money out of the TA budget not a bad doubt however, those on middle incomes will have to pay more as the latest thing seems to be means testing everything, rather sick of being th eone that seems to get hit everytime, bit cynical perhaps ?

It saddens me that, as an Islander living on the Mainland, I will need to get temporary holiday insurance cover when on holidays back home.I think this will make me feel somewhat alienated, for even an E111 form will not suffice in the event of my having an accident, etc

why should the UK care, deposits of cash in jersey cost the UK government millions and millions each year. Surely, the likkle island of jersey with all ferrari's on a 40mph can afford insurance. I tell you what though, the big winner in this is the insurance companies. Watch the prices rise!!!!! I bet you it will cost more for a jersey resident travelling to the UK for 1 week more than a UK resident to Jersey. This will also have a dramatic effect on tourism. You have been warned

I agree with David. It appears that Jersey is drifting further and further from the UK, but not any closer to the EU. This is bad news. We are a British island, and we'll all be better off if we stay that way.

I feel that rather than sit down and address the problem, everybody is pointing the finger at everybody else. This will resolve nothing in the long run. Is it not said two wrongs do NOT make a right.

Oh my...
Liz, this is entirely the attitude which UK are definitely wanting to see, so when you or others visit relatives on the mainland and have to go to A&E with their trivial illnesses why should i as a UK taxpayer have to pay for someone who comes from Jersey.

Should this happen, I would hope that all the UK visitors, who waste time in our A&E Department with trivial illnesses that they should be paying a local GP to deal with, are going to be charged too a reciprocal fee.

In my opinion this simply gives more emphasis to the argument which say's that the United Kingdom government simply doesn't care about the Channel Islands anymore.

Dr Death, what about UK visitors to the island will they now need travel insurance when they visit Jersey?

Dr Death
Immigration Ian - I take it you're comparing Jersey to the USA here? Jersey residents already have to pay way, way over the odds for health and dental treatment, whereas these areas are (generally)covered by the NHS in the UK. I can perhaps understand why this is happening though: do Jersey residents pay NI contributions? If not, then why should they get treatment under a scheme that they've not paid into?

Immigration Ian
This is not good! We don't need to show a passport to custom officials when flying from Jersey to UK or vice-versa (photographic id will do, ie drivers licence etc..) but we will either need to show insurance certificate or credit card before being treated. Welcome to the United States of America everyone.

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