RCR highlights patient needs in Brexit talks

The U.K. Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) said the U.K. government must place patients at the heart of its negotiations on exiting the European Union (EU).

To accomplish this, the U.K. must continue to have access to a European licensing process for new medical treatments, according to the RCR. This would help to prevent the country from falling behind in treatments it can offer, avoid delays in access to such treatments for patients, and help ensure the U.K. remains financially attractive to medicine and medical device manufacturers, noted a statement issued on 14 March.

In addition, patients and their doctors must continue to have the same access to clinical trials through European governance rules, according to the RCR. Furthermore, the RCR said there must be continued free movement of medical professionals to avoid worsening the shortage in medical specialties such as clinical radiology.

The RCR also called for the scrapping of the planned Immigration Skills Charge of 1,000 pounds (1,148 euros) per year on the National Health Service (NHS) for each worker coming to the U.K. from outside the EU, as this charge would make the shortage of healthcare occupations worse and divert money urgently needed for patient care.

"Whilst the government's commitment to building home-grown skills is applauded, that will take years to achieve and continued support of the NHS by European healthcare workers in the interim years is essential," the RCR stated.

The RCR also said there should be legal assurance of the rights -- including free access to NHS care -- of EU citizens in the U.K. That certainty is essential for recruiting and retaining European radiologists to work in the NHS, the RCR said.

"The problems of an overstretched NHS and shortages of medical and other healthcare professionals are well known," added RCR President Dr. Nicola Strickland. "The government must have patients and their carers at the heart of their negotiations on Brexit so that the quality and availability of NHS services does not deteriorate further."

Page 1 of 1240
Next Page