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Brexit Health Alliance warns that UK/EU negotiations put patients at risk

Published on 01/08/17 at 08:30am

Last month saw the formation of the Brexit Health Alliance, a partnering of key pharma and life sciences organisations including the ABPI, the BioIndustry Association and NHS Providers, all dedicated to vocalising and protect their collective interests throughout the negotiation process for the UK’s exit from the EU.

The alliance has warned against the impact of a Brexit which does not bear the needs of these industries in mind, particularly when it comes to the patient, whom the group have asserted will be placed at risk should their requests not be taken into account. This week saw the release of Collective “asks” as the UK negotiates to exit the EU, a document which outlines five key priorities which it posits as essential if the patient is to be protected and efficiencies maintained – something essential to the interests of both the UK and the EU, it argues.

The document read: “Our aim is to make sure that we are in the strongest possible position once the UK leaves the EU, and to this effect we advocate a negotiated implementation period that adequately reflects the time needed to achieve the following desired outcomes:

1. Maximum levels of research and innovation collaboration

2. Regulatory alignment for the benefit of patients and population health

3. Preservation of reciprocal healthcare arrangements

4. Robust coordination mechanisms on public health and wellbeing

5. A strong funding commitment to the health and public health sectors"

Aside from these core points, the alliance is also calling for negotiations to strive for the protection of the rights of EU citizens to continue to receive healthcare in the UK.

“There are great opportunities but also great dangers in these negotiations,” explained Niall Dickson, co-chair of the Alliance. “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. It is also vital that there is a firm commitment on all sides to joint co-ordination in response to public health threats.

“We hope that the publication of these five priority areas will help support the government to achieve the best result for patients and for healthcare across the UK,” he continued. “There is a huge amount of expertise within the Alliance and we urge the Government to make good use of this to make sure that these vital issues affecting the health and wellbeing of everyone in the UK are not forgotten alongside all the other issues in the negotiations.”

Matt Fellows

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