British pensioners who have retired to Spain and other EU countries will continue to have their healthcare paid for by the National Health Service post-Brexit in a reciprocal arrangement, after a deal in principle was agreed by negotiators in Brussels last week.

Any rubber-stamping though of this aspect of the fraught Brexit negotiations would come as part of a complete package once the talking is concluded, and it would have to be approved by all of the EU member nations.

In one of the few advances made in discussions about EU citizens’ future rights last week, the UK Brexit secretary, David Davis, said there had been agreement on four key areas, including reciprocal healthcare for British and EU retirees affected by Brexit.

“This is good news for British pensioners in the EU,” he said.

The agreement would also allow a British pensioner who has retired in Spain to travel to other EU countries on holidays and to use the existing European Health Insurance Card should they need medical attention.

It is understood the UK was pushing for this EHIC agreement to cover British tourists as well, but the EU said it was not an issue to be discussed in a deal for EU citizens.

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