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‘No deal’ Brexit guidance: “Outcomes outlined result in UK being less influential in health sector”

Following the release of government guidance in the event of a no-deal Brexit, here’s the reaction from medical and pharmaceutical representatives: 

RCP registrar and president-elect Dr Bod Goddard

“We’ve said from the start that patient safety must be at the centre of Brexit planning. We are pleased that the Government has heard the calls from the sector and is taking a transparent approach by making public the Brexit no deal scenario guidance which relates to health care. We’ll continue to encourage the Government to work with the EU, the NHS and health organisations to ensure that whatever the outcome of the negotiations, patients’ access to healthcare is protected.

“We will look at the published guidance in detail in order to advise our members, who will be on the frontline come March next year and patients will be expecting them to provide reassurance. They will need to in turn have confidence in the Government’s ability to ensure the continued supply of medicines and medication devices. Doctors would welcome any further information that can be given about supply chain plans and stockpiling. This will ensure trust and support in the NHS, should a no-deal occur.’

“We continue to be concerned about the lack of clarity on the proposed immigration policy in the event of a no deal. We urge the Government to clarify its proposed approach as soon as possible and ensure that the NHS can guarantee safe staffing levels and recruit from the EU and internationally.”

Mike Thompson, Chief Executive of the ABPI

“The pharmaceutical industry is doing everything in its power to minimise disruption of medicine supply in every possible Brexit outcome – including a ‘no deal’.

“By agreeing to recognise and use medicines and vaccines licensed and manufactured in the EU, the UK Government has taken an important step to protect patients. We urge the EU Commission to do the same.

“We need to be clear that a ‘no deal’ scenario is not in the interest of patients. Both sides must rapidly agree the terms of the UK’s withdrawal and a future relationship based on cooperation to protect public health, control infectious diseases and manage medicine safety.”

BMA council chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul

“Today the government is asking clinicians to reassure the public, but it is clear to the BMA that Brexit will have a catastrophic impact for patients, the health workforce, services and the nation’s health.

“Many of the no-deal outcomes outlined in this paper would result in the UK becoming both less influential within the health sector and a less significant market.

“The government is addressing the immediate risks of a no-deal scenario by encouraging providers to stockpile six weeks’ worth of medicines, but we need greater clarity on underlying long-term concerns. Having two separate regulatory systems for medicines, for example, could lead to delayed access to new medicines and medical devices in the long term for patients in the UK.  To avoid chaos at the border, the government is now instructing suppliers to make arrangements to fly radioisotopes and medicines with a short shelf life into the UK – no one voted for this situation.

“With less than eight months to go, the government still hasn’t set out its future immigration system with Europe. The NHS still needs to be able to properly plan and provide a workforce that can meet the demands of the health and medical research sector in the event of no-deal.

“Despite concerns being raised before the vote, no one could have imagined the extent of the complications that Brexit would bring to both the UK and the rest of Europe. However, in light of what we know now, it is imperative that the public has a say on any proposed Brexit deal.”

Read the guidance.

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