NHS Confederation submission to the Health Select Committee's inquiry into Brexit and health and social care


14 / 12 / 2016

Key points

  • Some of the consequences of Brexit could have implications for the commissioning, provision and development of healthcare interventions, given the extent to which EU policy and legislation impact on the NHS.
  • From an NHS perspective, possible implications for workforce, research and innovation, and health technology regulation are priority issues to be looked at during the withdrawal negotiations.
  • On workforce, our priority will be to ensure a continuing ‘pipeline’ of staff for the sector, including by recognising health and social care as a priority sector for overseas recruitment.
  • On research and innovation, our aim is that NHS organisations can continue to participate in EU collaborative programmes and are allowed to lead and be a member of European Reference Networks post-Brexit.
  • On health technology regulation, our priority is that NHS patients can continue to benefit from early access to the wide range of innovative health technologies available on the EU market and that they do not miss out on the opportunities offered by participation in EU clinical trials.
  • Alongside these priorities, we have identified public health, employment law, cross-border healthcare, and procurement as other areas in which risks or opportunities emerging from Brexit should also be considered.
  • As the UK government has not outlined its detailed negotiating position and negotiations have not started yet, it is difficult to be very specific on the measures which should be put in place to mitigate risks and to take advantage of opportunities.
  • In the event that the UK were no longer part of the EU Customs Union and could therefore embark in the negotiation of trade deals with different economic regions across the globe, particular care will have to be paid to ensure that they will not lead to any lowering of public health or consumer protection standards.
  • We also ask the government to provide clarification as soon as possible that EU professionals who are already working for the NHS, or who will be recruited during the leave negotiations, will be allowed to remain after Brexit.

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