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UK doctors set to ‘oppose Brexit’ following BMA vote



The BMA will ‘oppose Brexit as a whole’ following a vote at today’s Annual Representative Meeting.

The motion called on the BMA to ‘publicly announce that it is concerned that Brexit poses a major threat to the NHS and the nation’s health’, while supporting ‘open border arrangements with free movement of healthcare and medical research staff’.

Following the vote, it will be BMA policy to ‘support the idea of the public having a final say on the Brexit deal, now that more is known regarding the potential impact of Brexit’.

The BMA’s ‘Brexit briefings’, which outlined its stance earlier this year, previously warned: ‘Any reduction in the number of doctors migrating to the UK will therefore undoubtedly exacerbate workforce shortages, impacting staffing levels on hospital wards, in GP practices and in community settings across the UK.’ 

Official statistics have shown that the GP workforce shortage continues to worsen as 1,000 GPs left the profession since 2015, when the health secretary announced plans to add 5,000 GPs to the workforce by 2020.

Meanwhile, NHS England continues to pursue its target of recruiting 2,000 GPs from overseas by 2020, with just 85 in posts as of the end of March.

Dr Chandra Kanneganti, BMA GP Committee policy lead for the GP Forward View, said: ‘We oppose what’s happening and we want a good deal to be part of the European Union because we appreciate the enormous contribution of the European healthcare workforce, who work in the NHS everyday.

‘That’s the main reason we support this motion and I think we showed a strong message today as well, that the doctors across the NHS support our European colleagues.’

He added that the BMA will now work with the Government and ‘put the pressure on to get the best deal’.

The motion in full

Motion by the agenda committee: That this meeting notes the concerns raised in the “BMA Brexit briefings”, also notes that the BMA is non-partisan but that there is a plurality of opinions within political parties on Brexit. We call on the BMA to:-

i) support the UK remaining in the European single market;

ii) support open border arrangements with free movement of healthcare and medical research staff;

iii) support the UK remaining a member of Euratom to ensure the protection of supply of radioisotopes;

iv) support the early adoption of the European Clinical Trials Directive in the UK;

v) publicly announce that it is concerned that Brexit poses a major threat to the NHS and the nation’s health;

vi) support the idea of the public having a final say on the Brexit deal, now that more is known regarding the potential impact of Brexit on the NHS and the nation’s health;

vii) oppose Brexit as a whole.

Source: BMA