The Association was registered as a Charity in April 2004 and was set up with the main aim of financially assisting sponsored patients, requiring medical treatment outside Gibraltar. Besides the financial support, the Association also helps patients by giving them information, especially those who travel abroad for the first time and has also served as a pressure group to get the Government of the day to improve the Sponsored Patients Scheme. Representatives of the Association have met with the four different Ministers who have been responsible for the Health Service since 2004 to make proposals and discuss improvements. 

The Association has been able to financially assist 1,298 sponsored patients at a cost of £311,353. This has been possible thanks to members’ annual subscriptions and donations. We are also very grateful to other associations, some companies in Gibraltar and the general public for supporting us during the past 15 years.

When the Sponsored Patients Scheme was introduced in 1987, the maximum allowance at the time was £27 per-night, however, means testing was carried out to determine the amount each person was entitled. At the time the allowance was calculated by taking into account the net income of all persons living in the household. This was the case until 2012 when the means testing system changed to make it fairer by only taking into account the income of the patient and the spouse/partner. The Association has been advising Ministers, since 2004 that means testing should be abolished as the system is bureaucratic and grossly unfair to the majority of users. We are extremely pleased to inform our members that in September 2018, The Hon Neil Costa, Minister for Health, announced that he was abolishing means testing.

For the past 2 years we have been requesting that the Sponsored Patients Department prepare some sort of information booklet giving patients information on their entitlement and all services available to them. We are pleased to inform that three information packs have been produced by the GHA. One is for UK hospitals in general, one for hospitals in Spain and another specifically for Children’s hospitals in the UK.

These packs are available from the Sponsored Patients Department at St Bernard’s Hospital.