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RCP policy: Brexit

What we are doing

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.

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.

 

What we have produced

The Royal College of Physicians has answered some of the frequently asked questions from our members about how Brexit will impact on them and their patients.
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.
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.
The RCP wants the UK to retain EU regulation on air quality and seek to continue implementation of its pollution reduction targets.
The RCP wants the UK to continue to share expertise and information with colleagues in Europe, so that patients benefit from networks based across the continent.
The RCP seeks sufficient guarantees that patients will continue to have access to necessary treatment and care outside the UK after Brexit.
The RCP’s four-point plan outlines the profession’s key calls for the next government, to ensure that the NHS is adequately resourced.

Ahead of the 2021 Senedd election, RCP Cymru Wales has launched its manifesto calls for the next Welsh government.

The RCP’s response calls on the government to introduce a positive and welcoming migratory system for doctors to ensure a sustainable and safe NHS.
The NHS must ensure that patient care remains at the heart of the Brexit negotiations to ensure that UK patients can continue to access the latest treatments.
A briefing produced by the RCP before the House of Commons health debate on the Queen’s speech on 28 June 2017.
The RCP in Wales has responded to the National Assembly for Wales External Affairs and Additional Legislation Committee inquiry into the implications for Wales of Britain exiting the European Union. 
Briefing prepared for Chuka Umunna MP ahead of the adjournment debate on ‘funding for the NHS after the UK leaves the EU’, on 15 November 2016.
The RCP responds to the Health Select Committee's inquiry on the priorities for health and social care in the negotiations on the UK's withdrawal from the EU.
The RCP welcomes the opportunity to submit written evidence to this inquiry by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee.
A briefing prepared by the RCP ahead of the House of Lords debate on the effect of the EU referendum result on staffing levels within the NHS and social care.