Last updated:

BMA briefing: Health protection and health security

Health protection and security in the UK has been fundamentally shaped by our membership of the European Union . This includes efforts to combat infectious diseases, AMR (antimicrobial resistance), climate change, water, waste and air pollution and maintaining high food standards.


Key points

  • The UK Government should negotiate an agreement to continue to share intelligence and access data, evidence and planning for pandemic preparedness with ECDC (the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control). Maintaining the fullest possible ongoing access to ECDC’s emergency preparedness systems, including EWRS (Early Warning Response System) would enable the UK to continue sharing data and evidence with the EU and vice versa to protect its citizens and ensure that preparedness is coordinated and complementary.
  • The UK Government should seek to maintain an aligned approach with the EU on environmental standards in the EU (Withdrawal) Bill. Working with experts and stakeholders to implement the UK’s environmental plan would provide clarity and stability about the short-term future of environmental protection standards in the UK while supporting the development of robust and evidence-based environmental protection standards over the long-term
  • Negotiating a formal agreement to continue to work with the EU, and specifically the EFSA (European Food Standards Agency) to maintain health standards on imports and exports would help ensure imported products continue to be regulated to a high standard to protect health and minimise the barriers to export of UK products


  • A failure to conclude a future partnership agreement by March 2019 risks creating considerable uncertainty in the UK’s ability to coordinate pandemic preparedness planning and response with its European neighbours, weakening the capacity of all parties to respond to cross border health emergencies effectively.


Download the BMA briefing

Brexit briefing: Health protection and health security

Download now


Find out more

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


Read more BMA Brexit briefings