What we are doing
Brexit continues to be an important issue for patients and clinicians and as negotiations draw to a close the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) looks to identify opportunities for international collaboration and continued close working with the EU, in addition to supporting and working with members across the world.
January 2021 Update:
The transition period has ended and the UK has reached an agreement on its future relationship with the European Union, ruling out the worrying possibility of no deal being in place and the additional uncertainty this would have created. Brexit will continue to be important for patients and doctors. The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement outlines arrangements for issues such as data sharing, reciprocal health and standards for medicines. Further information can be found on the NHS Confederation website.
The RCP will seek opportunities for international collaboration with both the EU and the rest of the world to
- support an immigration system and environment which welcomes the skills and talents of people from overseas who want to work in our health and care system
- ensure continued participation in and benefit from high-quality research,
- deliver continued collaboration on drug regulation between the European Medicines Agency and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency to ensure that patients do not experience delays accessing treatments and industry continues to conduct research in the UK
- provide protection for the NHS in the future.
During negotiations, the RCP wrote a series of Brexit briefings to identify challenges and opportunities on a range of issues:
- What does it mean for doctors? The NHS is already understaffed and overstretched so the RCP seeks reassurance that doctors from the EU can remain in the UK and that the UK is an attractive place to work in future.
- What does it mean for medical research? The RCP wants to see the UK's access to EU funding for medical research continue after Brexit along with access to a fast and robust system for patients to access new treatments.
- What does it mean for collaboration? The UK needs to continue to share expertise and information with colleagues in Europe, otherwise patients in the UK will no longer benefit from networks based across the continent.
- What does it mean for reciprocal healthcare arrangements? The RCP seeks sufficient guarantees that patients will continue to have access to necessary treatment and care outside the UK after Brexit.