BMA warns no-deal Brexit could make it easier for diseases to spread across Europe

BMA warns no-deal Brexit could make it easier for diseases to spread across Europe

Friday, August 17, 2018

The British Medical Association has warned that a no-deal Brexit could leave the UK more vulnerable to a disease pandemic.

The BMA shared a briefing with the Independent that claimed the UK would find it harder to respond to infectious diseases and stop them spreading across borders if it left the EU without a deal.

The government is already planning to stockpile vaccines and some other medicines to prepare for no-deal.

The BMA also raised the matter of UK citizens living in the EU, and how arrangements on how they would access medical care in Europe are not yet clear.

It said this could “increase the likelihood” of the spread of diseases if they have issues accessing care.

The public should be made aware of the “considerable uncertainty about the UK’s ability to coordinate pandemic preparedness”, it added.


NHS petition for second referendum

Over 3,000 NHS staff have signed an open letter asking the government to hold a referendum on the final Brexit deal.

“We are doctors, midwives, nurses, researchers and others working in the NHS and health services across this country, and we demand a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal,” it reads.

It details three ways in which medics say Brexit will have a detrimental impact on health services.

“Brexit’s impact on the NHS staffing puts patient safety at risk. With drastic frontline staff shortages, we need everyone we can get,” it says.

Its second point details cost implications: “Brexit will cut the amount of money the Government is able to spend overall - In fact, just the fallen pound has already cost the NHS around £2bn in extra costs for overseas supplies and UK citizens' medical treatments.”

The third point is concerned with developing new medicines: “Brexit will hold us back in developing medicines and cutting-edge treatments.

“Leaving, or downgrading our role in Euratom, the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Horizon Europe and other alliances reduces our access to obtain and develop medicines and cutting-edge treatments quickly and reliably.”

The BMA is backing the Independent’s campaign for a second referendum.

Nigel Farage criticised the campaign, writing on Twitter: "This is the most extreme form of project fear yet, these people are an absolute disgrace."