British residents of the Comunidad Valenciana can hopefully heave a huge sigh of relief after President Ximo Puig of the ruling socialist party (PSOE) said this past week “Healthcare is not under threat for the 71,000 Britons issued with a health card,” insisting that free healthcare was a right for everyone living in the region and would continue to be so for British residents whether a Brexit deal was agreed by March 29th or not.
Currently, 71,000 British expats have SIP cards and are able to take advantage of free medical care and reduced price prescriptions.
“No Briton will lose (Valencian) citizenship in terms of the basic right to healthcare,” he said on Tuesday, following a meeting to discuss the effects of Brexit on those living in the Valencia region.
As well as residents, hospitals and healthcare centres treat around 100, 000 holidaymakers each year.
Puig said that for treating British residents and visitors the region received around 75€ million in compensation a year from the UK.
He said that “the Generalitat (Regional government) has the political will to formalize a bilateral agreement” with the United Kingdom, where some 10,000 Valencians live, to continue receiving economic compensation for the aforementioned universal health care”.
“Even in the worst case scenario of a hard Brexit, Brits can continue with their status as Valencians, and that means free healthcare.”