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Brexit: ‘Put health first’ says BMA one year until Brexit

Brexit: ‘Put health first’ says BMA one year until Brexit

BMA calls on Government to secure better guaranteed for healthcare services

The British Medical Association (BMA) is calling on the Government to prioritise healthcare in the final Brexit deal and to put an end to both patients and doctors uncertainty on their status.

A year ahead of Brexit, the doctors’ trade union released an infographic and a briefing paper today (29 March), through which it presented all the guarantees it wants the Government to meet before Britain leaves the EU.

The list of guarantees demanded from the Government, as provided by the BMA, is as follows:

  • A flexible immigration system, which is responsive to the needs of the health, medical research and social care sectors
  • Ensuring continued access to EU research funding programmes and collaboration on medical research delivers benefits, including access to new medicines, to both the UK and the EU
  • EEA medical students should be able to stay in the UK to live, train and work. Medical students from the UK should be extended the same rights across the UK
  • Continuation of the open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland so healthcare professionals can move freely to deliver vital cross border health services to patients on both sides
  • An agreement with Euratom to ensure patients in the UK get consistent and timely access to radio isotopes for cancer treatment

(Source: BMA)

There are 62,000 Europeans working for the NHS, which is 5.6% of the entire workforce, according to official data by the House of Commons Library. Of these, some 6,000 EU nurses are working in London, making the capital twice as reliant on EU staff as the rest of the UK.

Earlier this month, prime minister Theresa May pledged that she would negotiate with the EU to allow the UK to remain part of EU agencies, including the European Medicines Agency (EMA), to avoid delays when trying to access new treatments after Brexit.

BMA treasurer Dr Andrew Dearden said: ‘One year since the Prime Minister triggered Article 50, and with one year until Britain leaves the EU, discussions around the future arrangements for healthcare services are still defined only by their uncertainty.

‘From research and innovation to the availability of medicines, there is barely a part of the NHS that will not be affected by the UK’s decision to leave the EU. The BMA is therefore urging negotiators on both sides to end this uncertainty and put health first in the final deal, guaranteeing safe care for patients in a sustainable healthcare system long after Brexit day.’


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