An arrangement between the Isle of Man and the United Kingdom has been updated and extends the period of free emergency health care to six months.

It's part of the Reciprocal Healthcare Arrangement (RHA).

Previously residents in the UK who required emergency medical care would receive their treatment at no cost, if they took ill within three months of their arrival.

Residents will now be covered should they fall ill within six months of arriving in the UK.

The RHA extends both ways, meaning visitors to the island from the UK will also receive free emergency medical care if they fall ill within six months of arrival.

Manx residents will be covered for three main types of NHS care, including; Medically necessary and emergency care, treatment organised by Manx Care and routine healthcare considered medically necessary to manage pregnancy or long term conditions.

Whilst in the UK, Manx residents will be required to pay the same charges as UK residents including prescriptions and dental fees.

The new agreement also extends the coverage for Isle of Man students attending courses in the UK which last longer than six months, ensuring they are eligible for medically necessary healthcare for the duration of their course.

Minister for Health and Social Care, Lawrie Hooper, said: ‘This extension to our reciprocal healthcare arrangement with the UK is a great example of our governments working together to ensure we’re providing care and cover as needed to our residents.

'It’s hoped that this move to six months of cover will protect residents who find themselves dealing with difficult or complex medical issues when off Island.’

The new document was signed by Minister Hooper and the UK Minister of State for Health and Secondary Care, Will Quince MP, on the 6 July 2023. The updated arrangement comes into force from 19 July 2023.

The original arrangement has been in place since 2010, and this marks the first review.

It is now written in to the arrangement that there will be a review or renewal every five years.