As we approach 31st October, NHS organisations in Wales are still no clearer on EU funding which will be available to them after the UK has left the EU.
Per capita Wales receives more than twice as much as any other country in the UK. £83 per person per year, compared to £13 in England, £18 in Scotland and £30 in Northern Ireland.
Through the different EU funding programmes, there has been significant support for health research and innovations throughout Wales.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK organisations will no longer receive future funding for projects under EU programmes, such as the European Structural Funds and Horizon 2020. Currently, the UK Government have guaranteed funding for all successful bids submitted by UK participants before the UK exits the EU on 31st October 2019.
Horizon 2020 is Europe’s leading research and innovation funding programme. Welsh participants have secured over £1.8 million in Horizon 2020 funding for health and care related projects, in the last funding cycle.
Recipients of Horizon 2020 funding should provide initial information about the project on the GOV.UK portal. The portal is designed to ensure that UK Government have the correct information about projects and participants in order to guarantee funding.
The portal will remain open after the UK leaves the EU so that UK applicants can continue to register their projects as and when they are informed on the result of their application. If you’re in any doubt about your project and its funding, you can contact the Welsh Government’s Horizon 2020 Unit at Horizon2020@gov.wales.
Unusually, Wales receives most of its research and innovation funding from European Structural and Investment Funds, not Horizon 2020. According to a new review by Welsh Government, nearly 80% of Wales total EU funding for research and innovation comes from Europe.
Due to the funding from the EU the NHS in Wales has been able to participate in leading research projects across Europe. Velindre University NHS Trust received funding from the EU Health Programme to participate in the Improving Patient Safety in Europe [IPSE] project. The European Regional Development Fund co-funded Accelerate, a collaboration between Welsh universities and Life Science Hub Wales. Accelerate helps innovators in Wales turn their ideas into solutions that can be adopted into health and care.
This raises concerns about securing and maintaining post-Brexit structural funding for Wales. Following a debate in the National Assembly on the ‘Shared Prosperity Fund’, Welsh Government issued a statement calling for the UK Government to commit to making sure Wales does not receive a penny less because of Brexit.
As Wales receives a greater proportion of funds from the EU than any other UK Nation, Brexit poses a threat to Welsh research and innovation. At present we need more information on the proposed Shared Prosperity Fund so we can assess the impact Brexit might have on the funding for the Welsh NHS.
Nesta Lloyd-Jones is the Assistant Director at the Welsh NHS Confederation