Brexit Health Alliance demands patient protections

2 Aug 17

Patients’ interests must be protected during the Brexit negotiations, public service and health care leaders have said.

The Brexit Health Alliance, which brings together the NHS, medical research, industry, patients and public health organisations, yesterday issued a five-point list of priorities which the government should focus on during the Brexit talks.

The group warned that patients will suffer unless negotiators make sure that issues such as healthcare research and access to new medicines are given the attention they deserve.

“There are great opportunities but also great dangers in these negotiations,” Niall Dickson, co-chair of the alliance and chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said.

“Patients stand to lose out if we cannot go on collaborating in major medical research studies; if we cannot access new treatments and medical devices as we do now; and if UK nationals in the EU are no longer able to benefit from access to healthcare abroad, and vice versa.”

He urged the government to secure a joint commitment from both sides in the discussion to co-ordinate responses to public health threats, arguing this is in both the EU’s interest and the UK’s.

A spokesman for the Department for Exiting the EU said: “As the prime minister has made clear, we want to ensure that patients in the UK and across the EU continue to be able to access the best and most innovative medicines and be assured that their safety is protected.

“As part of that, we have stated that we will seek to protect the existing healthcare arrangements for both EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU.

He added that, “until exit day we will continue to play a full role in the EU medicines regulatory framework”.

The alliance has set five priorities for the negotiators:

1. Secure maximum levels of research and innovation collaboration

2. Align regulations for the benefit of patients and population health

3. Preserve reciprocal healthcare arrangements

4. Maintain robust coordination mechanisms on public health and wellbeing

5. Strengthen funding commitments to the health and public health sectors

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