The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) responds to the inquiry by the Health and Social Care Select Committee on the impact of a no-deal for Brexit.
Patient safety is of the upmost importance and must be the central to the government's considerations if there is a no-deal scenario. The RCP is pleased that the government has taken a transparent approach by making public the Brexit no-deal scenario guidance which relates to healthcare available, although at the time of writing we are still waiting for guidance around a number of issues including the status of the ‘mutual recognition of professional qualifications’. A no-deal scenario means that we will need an urgent confirmation of the recognition of professional qualifications held by EU citizens working in the NHS; this is especially pertinent in Northern Ireland.
The RCP continues 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. In the longer term the UK should ensure it does not fall behind in terms of progress on public health matters. It is vital for improving the health of our patients and reducing the burden of disease.
We are very clear that there must be no circumstances where a patient finds themselves without access to medicines because of a lack of supply. However, in the event of a no-deal, there are numerous health-related matters that must urgently be attended to including legislative support for public health, regulation, qualifications and workforce.