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EU citizenship future uncertain

MAY: Keen on EU agencies

Ministers are still dragging their feet over the futures of EU staff in the NHS, the BMA has warned.

The warning comes following the prime minister's latest speech on the UK's exit from the EU during her Mansion House speech on 2 March.

In her speech, Ms May expressed interest in the UK remaining party to EU agencies such as the European Medicines Agency, and again ruled out any return to 'checks and control' on the Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland border.

BMA treasurer Andrew Dearden welcomed the renewed commitment against hard borders in Northern Ireland, and the possibility of associate membership of the EMA, but added that there was still no clarity with regards to the status of EU doctors in the NHS.

He said: 'Unfortunately, this speech didn't provide any further clarity from the Government on exactly what the future holds for EU citizens and their families living in the UK … or on what a future immigration model would look like.

'It is vital that any future immigration system is flexible enough to ensure the NHS can recruit and retain doctors and other NHS workers in sufficient numbers and that the professional qualifications of medical staff continue to be recognised in the UK and in the EU.'

In the wake of Ms May's speech, shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth was expected to outline Labour's commitment to guarantee the rights and status of existing EU staff in the NHS.

Mr Ashworth, who was set to give a speech to the European Parliament on 6 March, was further expected to commit the UK to remaining part of the EMA and Horizon 2020 research funding initiative.

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