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Health and social services

In this section

Medicines and medical supplies
Free support for EU citizens working in health and social care
Reciprocal healthcare

Maintaining high-quality and safe health and social care remains our top priority now that we have left the EU.

We do not envisage any significant disruption to the day-to-day running of the NHS or social care services as a result of the UK leaving the EU. Local care and hospital services will continue to work as normal. This includes A&E care, social care, GP and dentist services.

Medicines and medical supplies

Clinicians should not write longer NHS prescriptions and people should keep doing what they’ve always done. That means only ordering prescriptions when they are needed, getting medication dispensed in the usual way and continuing to take it in the way it was prescribed.

If you have any concerns about your medicines or your regular prescription, you should talk to your local pharmacist in the first instance.

Free support for EU nationals working in health and social care

EU citizens have always been, and will continue to be welcome in Wales. Our EU colleagues play a valuable role in providing health and social care services in Wales and we value each person and the work they do.

EU citizens and their families living in the UK need to apply to the Home Office’s EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021. This will mean they can continue to live and work in Wales following the UK’s departure from the EU.

The Welsh Government has made a package of free support available to help EU citizens to live and work in Wales. To find out more about the help that is available visit the EU Citizens in Wales page.

The Home Office has published the following advice if you are an EU citizen; an organisation employing EU staff; or are recruiting from the EU:

  • EU citizens in the UK – Stay Informed, provides information about the citizens’ rights agreement and the Settlement Scheme for EU citizens in the UK.
  • A toolkit has been launched to equip employers with tools and information to support EU citizens and their families about the EU Settlement Scheme.

Wales: EU nationals working in health and social care

Approximately 180,000 people are employed in health and social care roles in Wales, with over 98,000 working within the Welsh NHS as of June 2020. In 2020 approximately 8% of staff identified as non-UK nationals, with a higher proportion of EU nationals than non-EU nationals.

In relation to social care and childcare, it is estimated that 6.4% of staff within registered social care services and 4.5% of staff within registered childcare services in Wales are non-UK EU nationals.

We recognise the importance of maintaining mutual recognition of professional qualifications (MRPQ) for the health and social care workforce. This supports the movement of health and social care professionals across Europe.

Now that the UK has left the EU, a ‘standstill period’ of up to two years is in place where existing EU and international qualifications continue to be recognised. As of 1 January 2021, UK-qualified professionals who wish to supply services in the EU should seek recognition for their qualifications using the national rules in the EU Member States. As part of the agreement reached between the UK and the EU, professional regulators will be able to cooperate with their EU equivalents to agree a process for recognising professional qualifications in one another’s territories. This will give regulators the flexibility to negotiate Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) or use existing third country recognition routes to recognise EU qualifications.

Reciprocal healthcare arrangements

For more information on the UK’s reciprocal healthcare agreements, which may entitle you to receive healthcare treatment when visiting other countries or territories, please visit the NHS 111 Wales - Travel Health pages.

This provides details on arrangements in place with EU and non-EU countries for emergency and planned treatment, and the funding routes available via the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), the new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC), S1 and S2 certificates and other entitlements that may be applicable to you.

Data protection

The agreement between the UK and the EU provides for the continued free flow of personal data from the EU and EEA EFTA States to the UK, whilst EU data adequacy decisions for the UK are adopted, and for no longer than 6 months (from 1 January 2021). The UK has, on a transitional basis, deemed the EU and EEA EFTA states to be adequate to allow for data flows from the UK.

Continue to visit the Information Commissioner’s website to find out more about personal data flows between the EU and the UK, and to keep up to date on any changes which will affect you or your organisation.

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