Access to Cross Border Healthcare

From April 6th all British retirees living in France will have the right to access NHS Treatment without having to obtain a form S2 from the French Authorities.

Below is a quote from the Department of Health to New Europeans which explains the changes.

"The changes basically enable our pensioner ex-pats living in Europe to come back to the UK and use the NHS as if they were still living here. This is relevant to those in receipt of a UK state pension, living in another EU country who have their healthcare paid for by the UK by means of an S1 registered with the health system of the country they are living in. So exactly the situation that Jane Williamson found herself in.

With this law change, the Government will be extending the right to return for all NHS treatment, including planned/elective, to this group of citizens. As I say, this change will become effective from 6 April 2015 and effectively means that ex-pat UK state pensioners living in the EEA have the same rights to NHS services as people resident in the UK, without the need to obtain any kind of authorisation from their country of residence."

The following is a link from the website of New Europeans, which tells the story of my fight to get this change implemented.

So far we have had no clarification as to how this will work in practice, but probably we will have to register as a short term resident and go through the usual procedures.

I will keep you all up to date on progress.

My contact at the International Policy Team is having to investigate this further. She is in Brussels for most of next week, so we will have to await her return.

She sent me all the Government bumph on who qualifies for free healthcare, but not how we access the system, which is what we want to know.

We have already asked for this information via New Europeans, without any result so far.


Brilliant thank you Jane. When you've done it please can you let Terry Williams know and then he can add it to the useful links page? Thank you - have a lovely weekend! x

I have just rung the InternTional Policy Team at the DepRtment of Health in London and they are sending me all the necessary information.
I will put up a new post so that this will not get lost in this thread.
Keep looking.

This is all very good but how do we convince the pharmacy, hospital, doctor, blood lab., etc. we don't have to pay?

Robert, it does seem strange that in UK the NHS is using private hospitals for NHS patients and yet we retirees are only allowed to use the national health service of whichever country we are in.
I could have paid for the particular type of treatment I could not find in France, but would not have been reimbursed and then gone on to find the alternative I now use. However, I would not have then taken up the cause with the Commission.
Interestingly, I am now in UK and have just had an eye health check, for which I paid £20.
After the 6th April, this will be free. The opthamologist had received information regarding thenupcoming changes, but like the rest of us not the full information on how this will work in practice.
If you want to follow up your complaint, you can contact the Overseas Health Care team at the DoH in London, or if you have been here for less than 15 years, your UK MP in your old constituency.
I don’t hold out much hope though.

Exactement !...

Recent news reports indicate that things are close to melt-down in that area...particularly in A & E, but I've always thought that it is scandalous that our contributions aren't portable as part of being in the EU. I understand that the French pay higher social charges.....but even if the whole cost is not covered, surely a good proportion should be....I'm one of those early retirees (now that they've yet again 'moved the goal posts) who has to wait now until 2019 to get my state pension and I'm not eligible for the S1 either as my earnings from supply teaching over in the UK dwindled (through no fault of my own) to below an unpublicised 'threshold' of £5000....

I was only able to 'keep my head above water, by having live in lodgers.....the income from which doesn't count for N.I. purposes and on which I am heavily taxed. If I hadn't done this I could have been 'a burden to the country' by claiming benefits

It goes without saying, that the tax system in the UK & France needs a major overhall......especially when there is such a major (and likely to be ongoing) crisis of accomodation...I feel that the tax free 'rent a room allowance' is set far too low and that anyone providing decent accomodation, at a reasonable rent, in a property that they themselves inhabit (and that can be a risky thing to do), should pay no tax on income from this at all !

Cameron, Farage et al ...Please take note ! ! !

Why would anyone qualifying for healthcare in France want to return to the UK and put themselves at the mercy of the NHS?

World Class… I forgot.

Thanks very much

Hi Jane

Can I first say what a great job you have done with this complicated issue. Its as a result of this expertise that I write for some suggestions of tactics on another Healthcare issue I think us Expats are treated so unfairly on.

The UK issues us the EHIC health card for when we travel outside our country of residence in our case France so when we visit another EEC country should we have an medical issue we are able to obtain medical care and claim back any medical charges applicable to the medical issue from the UK at the rate of charge for that particular country's own medical set up for their own nationals.

However, where I take issue with this arrangement is that I believe that if you go to a Private Hospital for treatment the UK will not pay for that treatment or charges involved. Not even a contribution towards those costs based on the standard rate of payment they would have made had you attended a National Hospital.

This is where I take issue with the system. I believe they should at least pay a contribution at the local rate. You can guess by now that we have fallen foul of this process in a big way and I would like to take issue with the Department of Health on this matter.

So it would be great if you can offer any advice etc on how to go about the process I would be grateful.

Hilary Jane, you need to be in receipt of a UK state pension, so you will be responsible for hour own health care until you reach that date.
If you intend to work in France you will be eligible for French state cover.

Simon, you apply for a form S1 from the DWP in Newcastle before you leave to become resident in France if you are already in receipt of a state pension.
If you have be ome of pensionable age whilst living in France, I suggest you visit the DWP website for more information.

Thanks for this info, Jane,

I wonder how this may affect 'early semi-retirees' like myself, with intentions to become resident ? I wont recieve my state pension until 2019....

That truly a fantastic result Jane and very well done.

How do you get a Form S1?

This only applies to British retirees with a form S1 from Newcastle giving access to the French health system.

Interesting reading and what a sterling effort by you Jane ! I’m wondering if this will have any effect on early retirees ? We are completing our house purchase today at the Notaire and it would be a huge bonus if we did not have to fork out €450 per month for comprehensive private health insurance !

Bravo Jane for getting stuck in here , and winning

Am sure a lot of us will have cause to be grateful to you.

Well done Jane!