The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) and 16 other health organisations have written to the prime minister calling on him to “put patient safety and protecting the nation’s health at the heart of Brexit negotiations”.
The letter, co-signed by Sandra Gidley, president of the RPS, asks Boris Johnson to invite health secretary Matt Hancock to join the ‘EU exit strategy’ committee.
Johnson set up the committee in July 2019 to coordinate preparations for the UK to leave the EU at the end of October 2019.
In the letter, the signatories said they are “simply unable to reassure patients that their health and care won’t be negatively impacted by the UK’s exit from the EU”, adding that “despite welcome ongoing engagement with [Department of Health and Social Care], we still have significant concerns about shortages of medical supplies”.
It also points out that the planned EU exit will come just as flu season begins.
“Even a ‘moderate’ flu season places significant additional pressure on the NHS,” the letter says. “Your EU exit strategy must include provision for different flu scenarios, and the secretary of state is well placed to coordinate that.”
Other co-signatories to the letter include Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, and Bronagh Scott, director of nursing, policy and practice at the Royal College of Nursing.
The letter comes after leaked government documents warned that exiting the EU without a deal in place will leave the UK’s supply of drugs “particularly vulnerable to severe extended delays” at the Channel crossing.