Ahead of the beginning of the Brexit negotiations, a new alliance has been formed to promote and protect the interests of patients and their healthcare services.
The Brexit Health Alliance combines the NHS, medical research, industry, and patients with public health organisations.
The group will be co-chaired by Sir Hugh Taylor, the former permanent secretary of the Department of Health, and Niall Dickson, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation.
The Alliance will seek to make sure that issues such as healthcare research, access to technologies and treatment of patients are given adequate consideration during the process of the UK leaving the EU.
A spokesperson said: ‘The Alliance will argue that it is in both Europe and the UK’s interests to maintain co-operation in research and in handling public health issues.
‘It will also call on the UK government to make sure there is a commitment to medical research and providing alternative funding, and that UK citizens’ right to receive healthcare in EU countries is preserved.’
The Brexit Health Alliance will complement the work of the Cavendish Coalition, which is concerned with healthcare workforce implications of Brexit and is led by NHS Employers, a part of the NHS Confederation.
‘A strong focus on health’
The new alliance’s co-chair, Sir Hugh Taylor, said: ‘We wish to support the Government to achieve the best result for patients and for healthcare across the UK.
‘We hope that the combined expertise and insight of the alliance will prove useful in helping to secure this.
‘Our aim will be to ensure a strong focus on health as Brexit approaches, and that we offer views from across the health sector to negotiators to ensure that patient care and the population’s health and wellbeing will be protected as we leave the EU.’
‘Risk of being forgotten’
Niall Dickson added: ‘There is a risk that healthcare will become forgotten alongside the vast number of issues that the negotiators will have to address.
‘It is vital we protect world leading research, that patients have access to medicines when they need them and that co-operation between the UK and Europe continues to protect all our citizens.
‘These vital issues will have a profound impact on the future health and wellbeing of patients both here and in Europe.’
The founding members of the alliance are:
- NHS Confederation (co-chair of alliance)
- Welsh NHS Confederation
- Northern Ireland Confederation (NICON)
- Association of UK University Hospitals (AUKUH)
- Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AOMRC)
- NHS Providers
- National Voices
- Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI)
- Association of British Healthcare Industries (ABHI)
- The Richmond Group of Charities
- BioIndustry Association (BIA)
- Faculty of Public Health (FPH)
- Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC)
- Scottish NHS Chief Executive Group