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UK agrees to talks on restoring reciprocal health agreement with Jersey

The UK has agreed to talks with Jersey about restoring a recently-ended reciprocal health agreement.

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According to the Jersey Evening Post, which quotes Jersey Health Minister Anne Pryke, a meeting has been scheduled for next month between Jersey’s acting chief officer and UK officials, even though, the paper notes, “it is still not clear who will be running the UK Health Department” because of the hung parliament.

The news comes less than two months after a report  by the Justice Committee of the UK’s House of Commons criticised the way the Government handled the termination of such agreements with the three crown dependencies – Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man.

It also follows the announcement in the Isle of Man parliament on 16 March that the IoM’s reciprocal healthcare agreement with Britain – which had been due to end on 1 April – was to be extended by six months, in order to give the Isle of Man time to present its case for keeping the agreement in place.

The issue of the crown dependencies reciprocal health agreements was belatedly adopted last year by Labour backbench MP Andrew MacKinlay, whose term of office just ended.

In an interview with International Adviser last December, MacKinlay, who is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee,  said his interest in the health agreements stemmed from his personal, “obscure interest” in the UK’s overseas dependencies and their constitutional relationship with Britain.

He said he had been unaware that the reciprocal health agreements with the Channel Islands had been ended until he found himself sitting next to Isle of Man speaker Stephen Rodan at a meeting in the autumn.

Justice Committee report

Referring to the way the termination of the agreement with the Isle of Man in particular was handled, the Justice Committee report noted, “This case is a good example of how relations between the Crown Dependencies and the UK government can be badly damaged by insensitive handling of an important issue."

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