Medical groups warn against no-deal Brexit

Leading doctors’ organisations urge Prime Minister to include health service in Brexit planning

Thursday 22nd August 2019

Medical groups from across the UK have issued another warning about the dangers a no-deal Brexit poses to the health service in a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

In stark terms, the clinical leaders state they are not able to reassure patients their health and care will not be harmed by leaving Europe without a deal on the 31st October.

The letter, signed by 17 royal colleges, associations and charities, warns very small problems could affect millions because of the NHS’s scale and complexity.

Mr Johnson is being urged to bring the UK Government health secretary on to a committee overseeing preparations for leaving the EU.

The letter was signed by some of the most prominent medical professional groups, including the Royal College of GPs, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow.

Doctors say the impact of an unnegotiated departure on the health service ‘must be considered at the highest levels of your government’s decision making.’

With the health service dispensing more than one billion prescriptions and providing more than 400 million face-to-face appointments, the clinical leaders say ‘even the smallest of problems could have huge consequences for the lives and wellbeing of millions of people’.

They say there’s a ‘very real possibility’ that life-saving drugs will be delayed from getting into the UK because of disruption caused by border checks.

The missive goes on to warn that, with the proposed exit date coinciding with the beginning of winter, even a moderate flu season puts ‘significant’ pressure on health services and this must be accounted for in Brexit planning.