BUSINESS woman Lisa Burgess, who recently shared her heartbreaking battle with cancer exclusively with EWN, has now found herself facing a different type of challenge.
She has shared her story with the BBC and as always the Euro Weekly News.
It’s not often BBC News drop in to have a chat with you so today marked another milestone in my life. Another memorable one was when I arrived in the Costa del Sol in 2016 with my partner Joffrey Charles to realise our dream and open our French restaurant Joffrey’s in La Cala.
In August 2018 I was diagnosed with breast cancer including 15 tumours. I had to have a mastectomy followed by 8 months of gruelling chemotherapy. We had to give up our restaurant to fight this battle and I continue to do so with radiotherapy treatment daily at Clínico.
When I worked at Joffrey’s I was under contract paying social security & taxes with an NIE and Social Security number. I was thankfully eligible for public healthcare at the Costa del Sol hospital which has been simply wonderful.
I joined a group called Brexpats in Spain founded by the eminent & incredible Anne Hernandez, her group gives excellent advice to Brits living in Spain. I realised that I needed to get my paperwork in order staring down the barrel of Brexit.
I went to a residencia appointment and the police said I needed to come back with papers proving my illness. My new Gandhi hair look didn’t suffice! They advised me to go to the Town hall in La Cala for assistance.
The town hall has worked tirelessly on my behalf to get my residencia but it was rejected only yesterday due to a technicality.
I am not working so the authorities had to establish I had been living here with Joffrey since 2016. The police arrived on my doorstep a few weeks ago to check where I lived and they have a copy of my rental contract with a reputable agency.
The report they put in said that none of my neighbours could confirm I live here permanently as the apartments are used by tourists. Therefore the report concluded that they couldn’t confirm I live here!
I have submitted up to 20 documents at this point in support of my case. It has been another uphill battle. I can certainly prove I have been living here as not only did the former British ambassador Simon Manley eat at my restaurant so did the British Consul. I was also the subject of a Channel 4 documentary filmed in 2017 for “A New Life in the Sun”. I have video evidence!
When Boris Johnson called for the suspension of parliament yesterday my anxiety levels reached a whole new level. If we crash out with No Deal there are no proper arrangements for reciprocal healthcare. There is a lot of misinformation around this subject.
The Spanish made a Royal Decree in March offering Brits healthcare rights here in Spain but in the small print, the UK has to agree to reciprocate within 2 months. Boris Johnson, who I tweet daily has refused to be drawn on this subject. We are mere pawns in his much larger chess game.
Where does this leave me? Well, I just honestly don’t know as I have a battery of tests in November and 3 further operations. Will I continue to receive healthcare? I just don’t know and not knowing is the worst.
I am absolutely astonished we are in a situation where less than 92k Tory members voted for a prime minister who has no mandate or majority in parliament for No Deal. It’s particularly galling as I am a life-long conservative voter.
I am appealing the residencia decision with the help of the British Consul and my MP. I am hopeful I will be able to remedy the situation.
This formed the basis of my chat with BBC News today. This isn’t just about me this issue is for ALL Brits in Spain especially vulnerable elderly pensioners and many like me who need to have their paperwork organised before Brexit. Some cannot even get appointments before October 31st.
I think I will have to apply for an Irish passport with a heavy British heart. I turned my nose up when my beautiful dear departed Irish mother Ann Burgess said one day I would be glad I was half Irish. She was right as always…
BBC News airs the segment tomorrow morning (Friday) at 7.20am, 8.20am and 9.20am UK time.