A unique agreement between the Isle of Man and Guernsey will assist travellers from both jurisdictions should they need emergency medical treatment while the current air bridge is operational.
The principles of a temporary reciprocal health agreement have today been agreed and it will come into operation upon final approval by both jurisdictions.
The air corridor which opened last month, allows travel between the Isle of Man and Guernsey, with no requirement to self-isolate on the outward or return journeys. Both islands have been free of confirmed cases of COVID-19 for a prolonged period.
Currently, all health and medical care provided in Guernsey to overseas visitors, including those from the Isle of Man, is charged for. Under the new agreement, no charge will be levied to Isle of Man residents for emergency hospital treatment and subsequent essential treatment following Emergency Department attendance.
Visitors from Guernsey are already provided with free emergency treatment in the Isle of Man, and this will be extended under the new agreement to cover subsequent hospital treatment – so the system is the same in both islands.
Additionally, the agreement covers air ambulance transfer from the Isle of Man and Guernsey to the United Kingdom, should a patient need specialist off-Island care.
Health and Social Care Minister David Ashford said:
‘A reciprocal health agreement was an obvious next step once the air corridor was established. Its simple aim is to ensure emergency treatment is provided free at the point of need for Manx visitors to Guernsey, with the situation mirrored here for those visiting from Guernsey.'
‘This is a bespoke agreement which takes into account differences in our health systems, and officers have worked in a spirit of positive cooperation to achieve this in a short time period. It’s a welcome, progressive step for the mutual benefit of our people.’
Deputy Heidi Soulsby, President of Guernsey’s Committee for Health and Social Care said:
‘The Air Bridge between our jurisdictions has provided a great opportunity for Islanders to travel whilst neighbouring jurisdictions are still experiencing lock down restrictions.
While travellers are encouraged to secure their own travel insurance to cover unforeseen eventualities such as the need for emergency healthcare, we are aware that this is not an option for everyone. This arrangement provides essential medical cover for travellers to both jurisdictions whilst the air bridge is in place.’
Travellers will still need travel and medical insurance to meet the cost of health services which are not covered by the reciprocal health agreement, including repatriation, ambulance services, GP appointments and dental care, which remain chargeable if they are required by an individual.