19 Mar 2009 07:00 AM
Travel insurance required for visits to the Channel Islands from 1 April

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH News Release issued by COI News Distribution Service. 19 March 2009

UK residents visiting the Channel Islands must ensure they have adequate travel insurance from 1 April. The recommendation comes from the Department of Health as the healthcare arrangements for UK visitors to the Islands are due to change.

The current agreement, which allowed UK travellers to get a limited number of medical treatments in the Channel Islands free of charge, will end on March 31. Anyone travelling to the Islands, which include Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, Sark and Herm, will be required to pay for medical treatment should they become ill or injured there after this date. Visitors should therefore take out adequate insurance before they travel.

Visitors from the Channel Islands to the UK will also now be liable for charges for medical treatment when visiting the UK, so they should also have health insurance cover.

If you have any questions relating to the end of the reciprocal health agreement with the Channel Islands, information on charges can be found by telephoning the Department of Health Customer Service Centre on 0207 210 4850 or e-mailing dhmail@dh.gsi.gov.uk


Notes to Editors

1. The Department of Health has always recommended that UK residents travelling to the Channel Islands take out travel insurance as even with the agreement in place, UK tourists have always been charged for a number of healthcare services including prescribed medicines, A&E hospital treatment, emergency dental treatment, GP and other medical care, ambulance travel (in Guernsey/ Alderney) and for GP treatment, dental care and prescribed medicines (in Jersey) and all medical treatment in Sark.

2. The agreement between the UK and the Channel Islands has been in place since 1 May 1976.

3. The Channel Islands were given formal notice of the end of the agreement in December 2008. The Department of Health initially advised them in May 2008.

4. The Channel Islands are Crown Dependencies which are internally self-governing and which have their own health services separate from the NHS.

5. The Ministry of Justice manage the relationship between the UK and the UK Crown Dependencies.

6. Examples of what end of bilateral healthcare agreement with the Channel Islands means for UK travellers:

Stan became ill on holiday in Guernsey before 31 March 2009. He had to pay to see a GP and to get Accident and Emergency hospital treatment. He would have got free in-patient hospital treatment. After 31 March, the only difference is that his insurance would have to cover all the costs.

Stan became ill on holiday in Jersey before 31 March 2009. He had to pay to see a GP or to get prescribed medicine. He would have got free in-patient and outpatient treatment and free ambulance travel. After 31 March, the only difference is that his insurance would have had to cover all the costs.