Ministers for the Overseas Territories were able to receive more clarity on their request to increase the number of medical referrals to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS).
According to the Joint Ministerial Council (JMC) Communique released following the two-day event in London, “the Overseas Territories welcomed progress in implementing the long-awaited reforms to the NHS Quota system, which now offers greater flexibility and access…”
Five Overseas Territories, Turks & Caicos, Anguilla, St Helena, British Virgin Islands and Montserrat have access to the NHS Quota System which allows the referral of patients to the NHS for a course of treatment free of charge. For the first time, this has been extended to Ascension, Tristan da Cunha, Pitcairn, the Cayman Islands, and Bermuda.
Montserrat’s lack of a full-service hospital has meant that critically ill residents must seek medical assistance abroad.
Previously, Montserrat and other OTs were allowed to send a maximum of four patients for medical support to NHS hospitals across the UK. However, over the years, there had been a request to increase this number due to a notable increase in the need for more residents to be treated abroad.
Montserrat has primarily used their quota for assisting cancer patients.
The Ministry of Health will now be able to send up to 11 patients annually to receive care in the UK.
In cases where a territory does not use up their allotted number, they will be allowed to offer them to another territory where there is a need, according to officials.
During the JMC, leaders of the OTs met with ministers and representatives from across the UK Government, including the Home Office, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Department of Transport, HM Treasury, Department of Health and Social Care, and the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero.
2023 UK and Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council Communiqué