Abta criticises Brexit minister over European health card claim

Brexit secretary David Davis faces criticism from Abta for suggesting that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) will not longer be available once the UK leaves the EU.

He was giving evidence to MPs on the Brexit select committee.

Answering a series of questions from committee chairman, Labour’s Hilary Benn, Davis conceded that British travellers to the EU “probably” would no longer have healthcare benefits.

He said it was “probably right” that British holidaymakers will lose EHIC cards, which provide free or subsidised healthcare across the EU.

Davis also said he “assumed” there would be a departure from the EU-US open skies arrangement, although he would fight for a successor scheme.

In response, Abta public affairs director Alan Wardle said: “Abta disagrees with David Davis that UK citizens will have to lose the EHIC health treatment card.

“Brexit shouldn’t have to mean that we lose reciprocal medical care rights with other European countries: the EHIC card is currently valid in Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU.

“It is an important consumer protection for British citizens, used over 200,000 times last year, and the government should seek to protect it in the upcoming negotiations.

“Maintaining consumer confidence on issues like this will be important over the next couple of years.”

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