Page last updated at 17:18 GMT, Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Isle of Man reciprocal health agreement extended

Noble's Hospital
The end of the agreement would have also affected UK travellers

The Isle of Man's reciprocal health agreement with the UK has been extended for six months.

The agreement was due to end in two weeks, meaning travellers to the UK would have needed health insurance.

But chief minister Tony Brown told Tynwald a temporary agreement has been put in place until September, while negotiations continue.

At Westminster, 59 MPs signed an Early Day Motion calling for the end of the agreement to be deferred.

'Major step'

Earlier this year, Mr Brown met with UK Health Minister Andy Burnham, who informed him the UK government would not move on its decision.

But now Mr Burnham has agreed to the six-month extension.

Mr Brown told Tynwald: "I believe that this interim position, which has now been agreed, will take us forward to secure a long-term agreement for reciprocal health between the Isle of Man and the UK.

"It represents a major step forward in safeguarding the people of the Isle of Man in relation to health care when visiting the UK."

The ending of the agreement would have meant Manx residents travelling to the UK taking out insurance in case they fell ill.

Island residents would have still got free emergency treatment in the UK but any hospital admissions would have been billed.

It would have also affected people visiting the Isle of Man from the UK.

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