As the Prime Minister meets with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen today to discuss a possible post-Brexit trade agreement, BMA trade negotiations lead and deputy chair Dr David Wrigley said:
“It is absolutely crucial that the UK can secure a future trade relationship that protects, and ultimately, improves healthcare.
“Given the complex nature of these negotiations and the unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic, there remain serious concerns that working to this incredibly tight deadline could result in the transition period ending without an agreed deal.
“The BMA has consistently warned of the potentially catastrophic impact that a no-deal Brexit would have for patients, the workforce and health services in the UK. With the NHS facing perhaps its most challenging circumstances in recent times, with a huge backlog of care and the ongoing demands of Covid-19, we cannot place it in further jeopardy.
“Given the unprecedented challenges we face as a health service, we need a deal that among other things, will protect the rights of EU healthcare workforce who have proved invaluable in recent months, ensure that we safeguard the NHS and guarantee access to medicines. We must ensure that we avoid at all costs anything that will threaten supply chains of vital supplies, such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices and protective equipment, needed to combat the virus and maintain routine care during this difficult period.
“It must also take into careful consideration of the unique position of Northern Ireland and make sure that there is no disruption to the provision of cross-border healthcare or the flow of medicines and medical devices between Northern Ireland the Republic of Ireland.
“At this crucial moment, the Government must listen to the voice of the medical profession and ensure it strikes a deal that permits our health service to thrive and allows us to continue treating patients to the highest possible level.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.