Brexit will make it harder to fight future pandemics and reap the benefits of new clinical trials in the EU, Jeremy Hunt is warning.

The current proposals for the UK’s full divorce will have “a significant impact on health and social care”, a letter sent by the head of the Commons health committee states.

In particular, it criticises a failure to ensure the NHS can continue to obtain human parts for research or transplants, as well as cooperate on “pandemic management” and on the licensing of new medicines.

Sharing the full story, not just the headlines

Joint working to protect imports of medical isotopes – used in the treatment of cancer – and on fighting antimicrobial resistance will also be “vital”, it warns.

The list has been drawn up as Boris Johnson resists pressure to extend the post-Brexit transition period, because of the coronavirus pandemic – risking a crash-out with no deal at the end of the year.

The committee was asked to evaluate the EU’s negotiating mandate, concluding there are “significant omissions regarding health and social care”.

It has highlighted:

* No plans for “substances of human origin” – for example blood, organs, tissues and cells – with “potential risks on access to these substances for the NHS”.

* No plans for the UK to take part in “European Reference Networks” – where EU countries share information on combating complex or rare diseases or conditions.

* No plans for cooperation on licensing products, including through the European Medicines Agency – which was based in the UK until Brexit.

* No plans for data-sharing in key areas including clinical trials and pandemics.

The latest news on Brexit, politics and beyond direct to your inbox

Register with your social account or click here to log in

“The UK would be excluded from access to the new clinical trials portal being implemented,” Mr Hunt writes, adding: “Continued access would ensure patients have access to health innovations under development.”

And his letter adds: “The early warning and response mechanism (EWRS) is a valuable tool for cooperation, and highly relevant during the current coronavirus pandemic”.

The letter makes no direct criticism of the UK government, because the committee was asked to comment on the EU’s negotiating mandate, rather than London’s.

However, it follows Downing Street insisting the UK would leave the EWRS at the end of the year – reportedly against department of health pleading – because “we have left the European Union”.

Significantly, Mr Hunt’s letter also warns of a “knowledge gap” unless parliament’s ability to scrutinise the details of Brexit are beefed up – after the government ripped up oversight promises.

And it states: “There is substantial public concern around the NHS and health more generally in relation to our trade agreements.

“We propose that the UK should seek to make a shared commitment to protecting health and national health systems part of these negotiations, in order to defuse tensions on this issue for the future.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

Amy Coney Barrett answers questions at confirmation hearing without notes, holds up blank notepad

Senators question Amy Coney Barrett on her stance on the Affordable Care Act. As Judge Amy Coney Barrett was grilled before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, observers noted she responded to hours of questioning on judicial matters without using…

MPs demand coronavirus compensation for families of frontline staff

Boris Johnson has been urged to create a new compensation scheme for the families of frontline workers who die while tackling coronavirus. After the deaths of three doctors in recent days, more than 50 cross-party MPs have written to the prime minister…

AP Exclusive: Docs show top WH officials buried CDC report

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The decision to shelve detailed advice from the nation’s top disease control experts for reopening communities during the coronavirus pandemic came from the highest levels of the White House, according to internal government emails obtained by The…

The GOP’s sudden and convenient distancing from Trump’s voter fraud claims

The passengers and crew of the sinking ship that is the Trump administration are scurrying. After the failure of President Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election led to a violent attempted insurrection at the Capitol, plenty of…