HC Deb 22 July 1957 vol 574 c22
43. Mr. Russell

asked the Minister of Health which countries have been approached with a view to reciprocal arrangements being made for free medical treatment for British residents and visitors; which of them refused; and what were the reasons for refusal.

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to my hon. Friend the Member for Kidderminster (Mr. Nabarro)on 14th March, setting out the reciprocal arrangements at that date. Since then, the agreement with Sweden has been ratified and agreements with Belgium and Israel have been signed. Negotiations with Austria and Yugoslavia are in progress.

No countries have refused to negotiate, but reciprocal arrangements have to take account of the basis of existing services and in other countries the health services are usually based on insurance principles. Some other countries have not so far found it practicable on examination to offer reciprocity.

Mr. Russell

While appreciating the difficulties involved, may I ask my hon. Friend to press on as much as possible with the countries with whom we have made no progress whatever yet—which include most of the countries of Western Europe—in view of the fact that we grant free treatment to any visitors who come here from those countries?

Mr. Vaughan-Morgan

I will certainly do all that lies in my power, but unfortunately, or fortunately, reciprocity is a two-way traffic.