The message from experts at the BMA event – Keeping Europe Health: Brexit and the European Medical Profession - in the EP (European Parliament) couldn’t have been starker: Brexit is a threat to Europe’s health.
Hosted by Wajid Khan MEP and run in conjunction with the BMA’s European partners, speakers were clear about the threat that Brexit poses to their profession and the patients that they serve across the continent.
MEPs and diplomats from across the EU 27 members states heard Dr Jacques de Haller, President of the CPME Standing Committee of European Doctors), call on negotiators to recognise the medical profession’s special status and elevate its concerns above the politics of Brexit.
Professor Trevor Duffy, Chair of the IMO’s (Irish Medical Organisation) International Committee, described how, across both sides of the Irish border 'over decades we've developed a system that is mutually dependent.'
President of the EJD (European Junior Doctors’ Association), Dr Kitty Mohan, startled attendees with her analysis of how Brexit is already damaging the pan-European workforce and the cross-border nature of medical education and training.
Portuguese national, Dr Miguel Reis Ferreira, a clinical research fellow in uro-oncology at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, demonstrated clearly how collaborative projects involving both UK and EU researchers delivered better outcomes than those which were conducted in without such cross-border working.
Mairead McGuinness, an Irish MEP and Vice-President of the EP, couldn’t have been clearer in her support for a solution which doesn’t threaten Europe’s health as “both Ireland and the EU have a lot of skin in the game.”
She was, however, equally forthright in her view that the UK’s decision to diverge from the EU’s regulatory framework, and the limited amount of time remaining to find solutions, mean that such an outcome might simply not be possible.
Speaking before the referendum, Michael Gove stated that “people in this country have had enough of experts”.
Having heard from a range of medical experts at our event, I can only hope that this view isn’t shared on the EU side.
Paul Laffin, BMA EU Public Affairs Manager
Keeping Europe Healthy: Brexit and the European Medical Profession