From October 1 this year, a reciprocal health care agreement between Barbados and the United Kingdom, which allows Barbadians travelling to the UK to access free health services under the National Health Service (NHS), will come to an end.
The existing protocol provides for a citizen of the UK or a citizen of Barbados who requires immediate medical treatment while temporarily in the other country to receive treatment on the same terms as citizens of that country.
Once the agreement ends, Barbadians visiting the UK, who are currently eligible for free health care for up to six months, will now be required to pay for such services.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is therefore advising travellers to make sure that they have adequate travel and health insurance before travelling.
Additionally, British visitors to Barbados will also no longer be eligible for free services, which include hospital treatment, treatment at polyclinics, ambulance travel and prescribed medicines for children and the elderly.
Meanwhile, the UK Government has also imposed a new immigration health charge, applicable to persons applying for visas to reside in the UK for more than six months.
Nationals of Barbados applying for such visas are now required to pay £150 per year for students and each of their dependents; and £200 per year for others, payable in full for each year that their visa applications cover.