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Brexit threat to health services

Published: 18 Mar 2018 00:01

Health experts highlight risks to staff, procurement and access to medicines.

Scotland’s health and social care services can be shielded from the worst impacts of Brexit by maintaining membership of the Single Market and Customs Union, Health Secretary Shona Robison will say this week.

Ms Robison will reiterate the Scottish Government’s position following evidence from health experts that highlights risks to research, clinical trials, and access to medicines and staff.

The Health Secretary will give evidence on Tuesday to the Health and Sport Committee’s inquiry on the impact of leaving the European Union on health in Scotland.

Speaking ahead of the session, Shona Robison said:

“EU workers make a vital contribution to our health and social care services, filling vacancies in hard-to-recruit specialisms or areas. However, evidence from health experts has demonstrated huge risks to workforce recruitment and retention if the free movement of workers and the cross-border recognition of qualifications, education and training are diminished.

“I am clear that the only way to protect patients, our health and social care services, and our research and pharmaceutical industries is to retain our membership of the Single Market and Customs Union.

“This would ensure we continue to benefit  from recognition of qualifications and free movement of staff within the EU, the rights of Scottish patients to have treatment in the EU, and access for Scotland to pan-European research, medicines and clinical trials. All of that is jeopardised by a lack of clear information from the UK Government.

“Leaving the EU’s regulatory regime for medicines and medical devices could also affect patients, with potential for slower or reduced access to new medicines, equipment or vitally important clinical trials. There will also be a negative economic impact on our pharmaceutical and medical devices industries.

“The only way Scotland can protect itself from the worst of this is stay inside the Single Market and Customs Union.”