Brexit continues to be a important issue for patients and clinicians and therefore the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) is seeking to ensure the best outcome after the UK leaves the EU.
What we are doing
Our priorities are outlined in a series of Brexit briefings:
- 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 air quality? The RCP wants the UK to retain EU regulation on air quality and seek to continue implementation of its pollution reduction targets.
- 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.
January 2020 Update:
Ahead of the 2019 General Election the RCP published its manifesto calls which set out our asks of the new government. Our manifesto specifically called on the new government to place patient safety and protecting the nation’s health at the heart of discussions by:
- creating an immigration system and environment which welcome the skills and talents of people from overseas who want to work in our health and care system
- ensuring the UK’s exit from the EU does not negatively impact patients’ ability to participate in and benefit from high-quality research, particularly with regard to funding
- delivering 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
- providing protection for the NHS in any new trade agreements post Brexit.
Potential for a No Deal:
Following the result of the general election it now looks likely that European Union Withdrawal Agreement Bill will now receive Royal Assent. If this is the case the UK will leave the EU on the 31 January and enter a transition period until the end of the year. This means the risk of an no-deal exit on the 31 January has reduced, but that there is still the risk of a no-deal exit later in the year subject to the negotiations of the UK's future relationship with the EU.
The RCP has previously made clear our concerns about the impact of a no-deal exit from the EU on the NHS. We will be monitoring the ongoing negotiations closely and ensuring that the voices of our members and fellows is heard when needed.