TT under threat over healthcare proposals

UK government plans to end free hospital treatment by 2010

FUTURE TT and Manx GP racing could be under threat after proposed changes to the reciprocal healthcare arrangements between the UK and the Isle of Man.

Current agreements mean UK residents in the Isle of Man receive free treatment here if they are injured or taken ill - the same applies to Manx residents in the UK.

But the UK Government now plans to end this agreement in 2010 meaning visitors will no longer automatically receive anything more than basic emergency care.

TT clerk of the course Eddie Nelson spoke about the proposal:

'At the moment, they will treat injured riders until we can repatriate them. As far as I can see after 2010 the Isle of Man will be treated like any other non-EU country so anything beyond emergency treatment will need to be covered by insurance. Foreign race competitors have to have their own repatriation insurance. Exactly how it will impact on us we don't know until we talk to the Department of Tourism and Leisure and the Manx Motorcycle Club.'

Tourism and Leisure Minister Martyn Quayle said the proposals were still at a very early stage and the full implications needed to be assessed.

'We have been aware for some time that the UK has been looking at its arrangements with the Isle of Man and we appreciate it has felt the need to amend the arrangement. We need to look closely now at the impact on the Island and its visitors but things are at such an early stage no one would want to comment yet. We need to look very closely at the implications,' he said.