Boris Johnson 'needs to step up for British expats' says expert
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Rachael Firth, who worked as a live-in carer on Spain’s Costa Blanca, went to A&E on August 14. When at a Torrevija Hospital, she told doctors about pain in her legs which had worsened.
Earlier in the week, Ms Firth saw her GP about the pain in her legs and was told to go to A&E if her condition worsened.
In text messages to her mother Jane Firth, the expat said hospital staff made her wait for seven hours.
Ms Firth said hospital staff said emergencies took priority, but the text messages hold the expat’s leg was swollen to twice the size.
Ms Firth then said she felt the doctor did not take her condition seriously after the clinician saw medical notes mentioning precious treatments for mental illness.
In the texts between the mother and daughter, Ms Firth said her doctor was “really nasty”.
She said: “The doctor was really nasty, said she’s read my notes…”
Ms Firth then told her daughter the doctor recommended an x-ray, after which they would “get her to a taxi and get her home”.
She later added: “The other two nurses were well shocked.”
Ms Firth was discharged at 3am after 14 hours in hospital, but later in the morning Jane realised something was wrong.
Jane, who has 35 years of nursing experience, rushed to a pharmacy for medication and advice.
Upon returning, Ms Firth found her daughter unconscious and performed CPR.
Ms Firth died on the floor of her lounge, with paramedics unable to revive her.
Speaking to Spanish news outlet The Olive Press, Ms Firth’s neighbour Alejandro said ambulance staff shared “an embolism was certainly to blame” for her death.
While an official post-mortem was carried out, the results have not yet been published.
Jane then told The Olive Press: “The way my daughter was treated in her final hours is nothing short of disgusting – You wouldn’t treat an animal that way.
“Money isn’t the issue, what difference would it make anyway?
“I just want justice for Rachael and I want answers to the questions we have about her awful treatment – this shouldn’t happen to anyone.”
Following Brexit, British expats can still use their European Health Insurance Card and have the same healthcare rights as before, but it will not cover all costs.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson told Express.co.uk: “The agreement we have made with the European Union continues the flexibility for travellers accessing healthcare in the EU and ensures the costs of healthcare for certain groups including eligible pensioners are covered when they move to those countries.”
Andy Bridge, the Managing Director of A Place in the Sun, also told the outlet: “Although British nationals can only now spend 90 out of 180 days in Spain before having to apply for a visa, this is welcome clarification to holidaymakers, homeowners and would be property buyers.”
Nigel Ayres, an expat living in Spain, then explained private insurance is essential, and getting one is the main problem Britons face when they decide to move abroad.
He said: “The main potential difficulties when applying for residence is proving you have sufficient funds in a Spanish bank account and obtaining a private health insurance policy.
“The requirement to have a private Spanish health insurance policy has been problematic for those with serious pre-existing conditions who may not be able to get cover.”
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