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30th June 2022, 20:42

GSD blames Government for ending of healthcare benefits by Spain after failing to secure equivalent benefits to those given to frontier workers

The GSD says the Government is to blame for Spain's decision to end reciprocal healthcare benefits for Gibraltarians, because it failed to secure equivalent benefits as frontier workers.

In a statement on Thursday, the Leader of the Opposition said the party has been highlighting the Government's mishandling of Withdrawal Agreement negotiations for years, adding it has now come home to roost.

Keith Azopardi says people will be concerned that on top of everything else, they will now have to worry about taking out health insurance for Spain because they are not covered for emergency healthcare.

The GSD says the opportunity to secure rights of freedom of movement across the frontier or access to services like healthcare should have been taken when these were given to 15,000 frontier workers.

The party accuses the Government of giving these rights these away in the Withdrawal Agreement without securing permanent rights for Gibraltar residents, and have not secured better arrangements since.

Keith Azopardi says the comparative numbers of frontier workers, when set against the size of the Rock's population, is insignificant in Spanish national terms and could not possibly be a burden on the Spanish healthcare system.

Worse still, the GSD says if no permanent Treaty is agreed then there is no certainty of reciprocal healthcare arrangements being restored, while conversely those 15,000 frontier workers will have secure access to healthcare in Gibraltar for life.

The Party says the lack of simultaneous rights is a failure in negotiations and the effect of the agreements entered into by Fabian Picardo's Government.