BMJ: Euratom withdrawal will put patients at risk

New concerns have been voiced about the U.K.'s proposed withdrawal from the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), as part of the government's "hard" Brexit plan. This move would threaten the medical isotope supply and put patients at risk, according to an article published on 26 July in BMJ.

Euratom regulates the nuclear industry across Europe, monitoring the transport of nuclear materials, the disposal of waste, and the safe supply of medical radioisotopes. Leaving the European Union (EU) could affect the U.K.'s access to these supplies, wrote Dr. Martin McKee of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

"Ministers have no excuse for failing to anticipate this controversy," McKee wrote. "The problems were highlighted clearly in an article in the Financial Times in February 2017 and in briefings by nuclear industry experts. Yet, as with all aspects of the Brexit negotiations, there is no evidence of any serious planning."

To avoid jeopardizing isotope supply, the Brexit negotiating team must include representatives from the U.K. Department of Health, and the Department for Exiting the EU must appoint a chief scientific advisor, McKee noted.

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