The City Law School academic makes several recommendations including the need to correctly implement Withdrawal Agreement obligations to provide healthcare for frontier workers and their families.

By Mr John Stevenson (Senior Communications Officer), Published

Professor Tamara Hervey, Jean Monnet Professor of EU Law at The City Law School launched her research paper, Brexit, Health, & its Impact on Article 2 of the Ireland/NI Protocol on June 7th 2022 in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

604788She was commissioned to author the research by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC).

Eilis Haughey, Director (Human Rights after EU Withdrawal) at the NIHRC, opened the launch event which was chaired by Professor Tobias Lock, Jean Monnet Chair in EU Law and Fundamental Rights at Maynooth University.

Due to the integrated nature of health provision on the island of Ireland, including all-island facilities and cross-border services together with the intricacies of the Common Travel Area, healthcare is a key area of continuing concern in relation to Brexit.

The Belfast launch event provided an important opportunity to consider the ‘no diminution’ commitment of Protocol Article 2 in a healthcare context, before discussing next steps to protect the right to healthcare.

Professor Hervey makes a number of recommendations in her paper, including the following:

  • Adjust National Health Service (NHS) infrastructure so that frontier workers’ rights to receive healthcare on either side of the border on the island of Ireland are underpinned by consistent administrative practice;
  • Ensure that settled status is secured by all residents of Northern Ireland who are entitled to it, especially those who are vulnerable;
  • Correctly implement the Withdrawal Agreement obligations to provide healthcare for frontier workers and their families;
  • Carefully check and clarify the entitlements of trafficked children to access healthcare in Northern Ireland and associated obligations;
  • Clarify the position of residents of Ireland for whom the UK is the ‘competent state’ and the Northern Irish health system is responsible for providing cross-border healthcare;
  • Use best-endeavours to extend the new European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) entitlement to all residents of Northern Ireland, so that they enjoy access to healthcare when visiting Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland;
  • Secure continuity of product and substances of human origin supply to the Northern Ireland NHS, either by negotiation with the EU, or by unilaterally offering incentives to continue to supply the Northern Ireland NHS;
  • Track effects of increased prices in medical products on costs to consumers, paying attention to protected groups, for example elderly people;
  • Clarify the official, publicly available legal texts, with inline consolidations being brought up to date as a matter of urgency;
  • Disseminate accurate information in plain language about relevant rights and obligations, with hyperlinks to formal legal texts

Professor Hervey’s paper forms part of a wider body of research published by the NIHRC and the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland which attempts to identify what Protocol Article 2 means in practice and which draws upon the mandate of the HIHRC to effectively protect the rights of citizens.

You can read the full research paper here.


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