BMA and NHS England issue Brexit advice

By Editor
16th September 2019
NHS England

Healthcare professionals are being urged not to write longer prescriptions than normal and to avoid stockpiling medicines, ahead of the UK leaving the European Union (EU) without a trade deal. 

The British Medical Association (BMA) has issued an online document answering questions that people working in the healthcare industry may have ahead of 31 October, 2019, when Brexit is expected to happen and NHS England has also issued advice for patients and healthcare professionals about medication.

Some of the advice published by the BMA has been based on letters and documents issued by the government.

In a letter, dated August 28, 2018, by the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, clinicians were told to advise people that the Government has “plans in place to ensure a continued supply of medicines to patients from the moment we leave the EU”.

Drafted by Matt Hancock it said: “Patients will not need to and should not seek to store additional medicines at home. I am also today writing to medical devices and clinical consumables companies to set out further details of plans to ensure a continuity of supply of these products as well.”

He then wrote again in April 2019, addressing concerns some healthcare professionals may have about whether their professional qualifications from EEA and Swiss institutions will continue to be recognised in the UK, if a deal has not been agreed.

The document explained that in March 2019 legislation was put in place to ensure the “continued recognition of European qualifications by all professional regulators covering the health and social care sectors, including the General Medical Council, Nursing and Midwifery Council, General Pharmaceutical Council, General Dental Council and Health and Care Professions Council.”

Mr Hancock wrote: “This means EU staff who are currently practising in the UK can continue to do so, and that professionals qualified in the EEA and Switzerland can continue to apply for registration after exit day, even if we leave without a deal.”

Other areas the BMA has attempted to tackle include questions about the Falsified Medicines Directive (FMD) if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, treating EU citizens once the UK has exited and medical research.

Picture credit: John Cameron

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