28th June 2017

NHS Must Be Central To Brexit Talks, Warns BMA

NHS Must Be Central To Brexit Talks, Warns BMA

The British Medical Association (BMA) has warned that the NHS and Healthcare must be at “the front and centre” of any Brexit deal, as formal negotiations on Britain’s departure from the European Union get under way on 19th June 2017.

Since the UK vote to leave the EU, the BMA has been calling on the government to provide assurances on several key healthcare issues. Some of them are listed below.

  • Granting the 10,000 highly skilled EU doctors and medical researchers in the UK permanent residence. Nearly half have told the BMA that they are considering leaving the UK in light of Brexit.
  • Addressing the unique effect Brexit may have on the health care service in Northern Ireland.
  • Guaranteeing a flexible immigration system, which meets the needs of the UK health service and medical research sector as well as the preservation of present reciprocal arrangements, including mutual recognition of professional qualifications and measures that protect patient care.
  • Securing ongoing access to EU research programmes and research funding, to maintain the UK's world-leading science and research base.
  • Ensuring Brexit doesn’t hamper the UK's ability to have a leading role in European and international efforts to tackle global health threats.

The chair of BMA Council, Dr Mark Porter commented that the government must keep the health service and its patients at the forefront during Brexit talks and control the effect that leaving the EU will have on health and social care across the UK.

He further added that the BMA welcome the government’s pledge to provide certainty for EU nationals working in the National Health Service (NHS). The time has come for it to deliver fully on those repeated promises by providing them with permanent residence in the UK. Beside this, it is important that the UK government ensures long-term stability for the NHS by safeguarding life-changing medical research which benefits from European funding and guaranteeing that leaving the EU will not break the UK’s access to vital pharmaceuticals.

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