As Britain prepares to leave the EU today, the British Medical Association says European doctors must continue to be welcome in the UK.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA council chair, said:
“Freedom of movement has allowed talented doctors and other healthcare staff to travel, work and teach across Europe, letting those from the EU to both contribute to and learn from the NHS, while UK-trained clinicians have been able to share their skills in other European nations.
“Our message to our European colleagues – and indeed those around the world – is a clear one: you are welcome here.
“While the UK may be leaving the EU, Britain’s doctors will remain very much part of Europe’s tight-knit medical community. We have far more in common with our European colleagues than is different. We are one profession bound by our duty and desire to provide the best care to our patients across the continent.
“Medicine, the medical profession and the whole continent’s health is far stronger when we work together. Therefore, the BMA will continue to work with its European counterparts1, challenging both the UK Government and the EU to ensure that the interests of doctors, patients and public health are prioritised in the crucial months ahead.
“This means avoiding a no-deal Brexit at all costs. With just 11 months to come to a long-term agreement on our future relationship with the EU, this is still a very real risk, and a number of key issues highlighted by the BMA remain a concern.
“It means ensuring the supply of vital medicines is not disrupted, protecting collaborative relationships with our neighbours on medical research, and introducing a flexible immigration system that will allow health and social care staff to respond to needs across Europe. It also means ensuring that health services on the island of Ireland can continue to provide vital cross-border care.
“Whatever Britain’s future relationship looks like, it must absolutely put health first.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.
1. The BMA will remain a full member of the Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME), the European Junior Doctors Association (EJD), the European Union of General Practitioners (UEMO) and European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS) post-Brexit.
2. Find more about the BMA’s work on Brexit here.