Warning over fishermen’s residency and healthcare

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THE Isle of Man Branch of the Fishermen’s Mission would like to bring the following to the attention of all fishermen, skippers and vessel owners, whose vessels fish in the Irish Sea, near the Isle of Man. 

The Isle of Man Branch of the Fishermen’s Mission has recently dealt with a fisherman who was airlifted from his vessel for treatment in Noble’s Hospital, Isle of Man. The fisherman was not a Manx or a UK resident  and therefore, even though he was working on a UK registered vessel, he had to pay for his treatment.

The Isle of Man only has a reciprocal health agreement with the UK and any fishermen who need hospital treatment (apart from any emergency treatment in Accident and Emergency) in the Isle of Man and who are not a UK resident  or Manx resident will be liable to pay for their treatment and stay in any Isle of Man hospital.

This applies to all EU residents, other than UK residents, and any other non-EU residents.

The Isle of Man will provide any emergency treatment (such as attendance at Accident and Emergency Unit)  free of charge to anyone who needs it but any treatment which requires admission to hospital will be charged for. 

In a reply to a letter Hon Mr D. A. Anderson, MHK, Minister of Health, Isle of Man, states that: ‘The underlying principle for entitlement to health care is residence. If the individual concerned is resident in the Isle of Man or a resident in country which has a reciprocal agreement with the Isle of Man (currently only the UK) then they will receive both emergency and any longer term care for free. Anyone else will receive only free emergency or immediate necessary care, or if they are admitted to hospital will be expected to pay.’

Mr Anderson continues: ‘The fact remains that non UK and non Manx residents who fall ill will be liable for any charges other than those relating to immediately necessary and emergency care. If those charges are not met then they will be a civil debt like other funds owed to the Isle of Man Government.’

Daily expenses in Manx hospitals can range between £300 – £500 per day plus the cost of any medication or  treatment.

For those having the unfortunate experience of being admitted into a hospital in the Isle of Man, this could be very expensive and run into hundreds of thousands of pounds.

If the crew member is a share fisherman then he will have to be charged for any health care but if he has a contractual arrangement with the vessel owner then the vessel owner will be charged.

Therefore the Isle of Man Branch of the Fishermen’s Mission recommends that all fishermen have personal medical health insurance to cover hospital treatment, hospital accommodation and insurance covering funeral expenses and repatriation back to their own country, from either the Isle of Man or UK. A copy of the insurance certificate should accompany them with their passport.

We hope this never happens but it is better to play safe.

MIKE CRAINE,

Address supplied.

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