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‘Doctors should have influence on EU policy’

28 February 2014

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European policy-makers should allow doctors to play a greater role in creating EU health policy, the British Medical Association (BMA) believes. 

A manifesto has been released which aims at raising awareness of what the BMA believes should be priorities for members of the European Parliament (MEPs). 

The BMA is calling for MEPs to develop and secure policies which:

 – Improve public health: Comprehensive, evidence-based population-level measures should be introduced to reduce alcohol consumption,    rather than targeting irresponsible drinkers alone.

– Secure patients’ rights and safety: Patients should be the principal focus of any healthcare system and their safety must be guaranteed at  all times.

– Champion a professional workforce: The European Working Time Directive helps doctors to provide better and safer patient care, and requires no further revision.

Dr Mark Porter, chair of BMA Council, said:“Whatever your view on the ongoing political debate over the UK’s relationship with Europe we cannot ignore the fact that the European Union plays a vital role in setting public health policy. And while the BMA believes that healthcare should remain the primary responsibility of each member state, UK MEPs have a responsibility to secure a healthier Europe for their constituents. 

“Our manifesto sets out the vital policy areas MEPs must engage with over the next five years if we are to make a real difference to the health of all EU members. 

“High quality healthcare should be available to all and it is vital that the EU rejects any policies which would endanger a principle which goes to the very heart of the NHS. We recognise the potential benefits to health outcomes from free trade agreements but we must ensure that competition is not forced into the NHS and that any agreements, such as the upcoming Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, do not result in the wholesale commercialisation of the NHS.”