On 26th November the Brexit Health Alliance (BHA) delivered a Parliamentary Reception, BREXIT: How to safeguard the NHS.
The reception was hosted by Sarah Wollaston MP, who spoke on health as a priority in the Brexit negotiations and was chaired by Sir Hugh Taylor, BHA co-Chair.
The event attracted MPs, Lords, government officials, health sector leaders, and media from as far afield as Japan. Our speakers shared different perspectives that compellingly highlighted the complex and far-reaching impacts of Brexit on health.
The event took place on the day that political debate was dominated by discussion on whether or not Parliament should ratify the Withdrawal Agreement finalising the divorce terms between the UK and the EU.
This Agreement, which has been approved by the EU, is generally positive from a health perspective. It offers explicit commitment to a single customs territory and to regulatory cooperation, which would help maintain the flow of medical supplies, and maintenance of reciprocal and cross-border healthcare rights. However, other BHA priorities are currently mentioned only in the Political Declaration, signalling no guarantees for cooperation with the European Medicines Agency, the European Atomic Energy Committee (EURATOM), research systems, and health security.
Niall Dickson from the NHS Confederation and co-Chair of the BHA, opened by discussing the key BHA priorities:
Other contributions came from:
- Fiona Loud from Kidney Care UK who highlighted the critical importance of both medicines supply and reciprocal healthcare from the perspective of patients with kidney failure.
- Sam Allen, CEO of Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, who emphasised the importance of CEOs valuing and supporting the health and social care workforce during this time of uncertainty.
- Philip Kennedy from the ABHI, who spoke of the challenges faced by the health tech sector in maintaining flow of goods from inhalers to x-ray parts.
Speaker presentations were followed by in depth discussion where politicians sought to learn more.
Attendees left with copies of the BHA Brexit briefings, a newly developed BHA infographic on the key impacts of a no-deal Brexit scenario on the health sector and photographs of themselves holding signs indicating their personal Brexit health priorities, which were shared on social media using #BrexitHealthAlliance.
More on our Brexit work.