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Policy Information

Health and Brexit

Published: 16 August 2019
From: Department of Health


Ireland and the UK have a number of areas in the provision of healthcare where we are interconnected.

Some of our medicines are moved through the UK to get to Ireland. However, Ireland is unlikely to face general medicines supply issues in the period immediately post-Brexit, even in a no deal scenario. This is because there are already additional stocks of medicines routinely built into the Irish medicine supply chain.


Both the Irish and British Governments are committed to maintaining the current healthcare arrangements under the Common Travel Area . Under the CTA, Irish citizens and British citizens who live in, work in, or visit the other state have the right to access healthcare there. Other North South cooperation arrangements will also continue on the island of Ireland.

The government is working to ensure that new arrangements will provide for continued access to the health services between Ireland and the UK, including on the island of Ireland, which patients in both jurisdictions currently access.

General medical supplies

The pharmaceutical industry and medicines wholesalers, who are working closely with Government in this area, are confident there are enough stocks of medicines in the country to manage any potential supply issues at ports.

Anyone with an ongoing need for medicines should fill their prescription as normal.

You do not need to order extra quantities of medicines or extra prescriptions ahead of Brexit. If you do, you could disrupt existing stock levels and hamper the supply of medicines for other patients.

If you have any concerns, please speak to your pharmacist.

Access to health services

Irish citizens and British citizens who live in, work in, or visit the other State will continue to have the right to access healthcare there.

Government has introduced legislation to ensure these access arrangements can be maintained post-Brexit, even in the event of no deal.

Cross border access to health services

Cross border health services (like the cardiology and cancer treatments in Altnagelvin, Derry and paediatric cardiology and maternity services in Dublin) are managed by service level agreements. Even in a no deal Brexit scenario, services like these can be expected to continue.

Both the Irish and UK Governments are fully committed to continuing existing cross border arrangements.

Recognition of qualifications

There is an EU Directive that currently allows for Irish and UK citizens to have professional qualifications recognised.

In the event of a no deal Brexit all UK qualifications already recognised in Ireland will continue to be recognised.

In the event of a no deal Brexit applications for UK qualifications to be recognised in Ireland after 31 October will be processed as ‘third country’ applications, similar to all applications from outside the EU, which may mean that the process will take longer.

Further information can be found on the relevant regulator’s website.

For further information on Brexit please visit www.gov.ie/Brexit

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