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BMA briefing: Health improvement - maintaining a focus on prevention after the UK leaves the EU

The UK and EU currently interact in a number of important ways to tackle preventable conditions and address health inequalities in the UK. These include developing policy and legislation to promote public health, supporting evidence-based decision making, and supporting investment in economically disadvantaged areas. To avoid widening health inequalities, the BMA believes it is important to maintain a strong focus on preventing ill-health after the UK leaves the EU in March 2019.


Key points

  • We are calling on the UK Government to ensure measures in the EU (Withdrawal) Bill do not widen health inequalities or increase pressure on the NHS. This would ensure that measures currently in EU legislation which benefit public health are maintained after Brexit.
  • After March 2019, the UK may have an opportunity to go further than the EU in our approach to prevention.
  • The BMA is calling for the funding currently provided by EU regional development funding to be replaced after Brexit. We would like to see an increased focus on addressing regional health inequalities.
  • The EU also stands to gain from a collaborative approach with the UK on health improvement. The benefits include a consistent approach to issues such as the marketing, labelling and content of products which cross borders and contribute to the burden of long- term disease, as well as maintaining access to UK expertise and influence in taking forward the EC’s (European Commission) public health goals.
  • Should there be no deal then this would create uncertainty and barriers to collaboratively tackling cross-border prevention challenges. It would also limit the exchange of evidence between the UK and EU.


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Brexit briefing: Health improvement - maintaining a focus on prevention after the UK leaves the EU

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Find out more

For further information on this briefing, please contact Susan Bahl, Brexit lead:


Read more BMA Brexit briefings