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Patients ‘stand to lose out if healthcare collaboration is damaged by Brexit’

The Brexit Health Alliance has urged negotiators to include key health priorities.

Patients face losing out if UK-EU collaboration is watered down post-Brexit, a group of healthcare bodies has claimed.

The Brexit Health Alliance wants negotiators to pay attention to healthcare research, access to new medicines and other issues during the talks in order to maintain cooperation between the UK and EU.

Its priorities include seeking “maximum levels” of research and innovation collaboration, a “strong” commitment to fund the health and public health sectors and for regulations to be aligned to benefit patients.

The alliance also wants the right of EU citizens to receive healthcare in the UK to be maintained, with one of its other priorities being the preservation of reciprocal healthcare arrangements.

NHS Confederation chief executive Niall Dickson, who co-chairs the alliance, said: “There are great opportunities but also great dangers in these negotiations.

“Patients stand to lose out if we cannot go on collaborating in major medical research studies, if we cannot access new treatments and medical devices as we do now, and if UK nationals in the EU are no longer able to benefit from access to healthcare abroad, and vice versa.

“It is also vital that there is a firm commitment on all sides to joint co-ordination in response to public health threats.”

The alliance includes organisations representing patients, the NHS and the research sector, such as the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, the Association of British Pharmaceutical Industries, Faculty of Public Health and National Voices.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Exiting the European Union said: “As the Prime Minister has made clear, we want to ensure that patients in the UK and across the EU continue to be able to access the best and most innovative medicines and be assured that their safety is protected.

“As part of that, we have stated that we will seek to protect the existing healthcare arrangements for both EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU.

“Until exit day we will continue to play a full role in the EU medicines regulatory framework, and we will work closely with our European counterparts to find a solution for continued co-operation that is in the best interests of business, citizens and patients across the EU and the UK.”

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