16:15 The BMA has cautiously welcomed the content of the Prime Minister’s big Brexit speech, delivered today in Florence, while condemning its lack of detail.
Dr Andrew Dearden, BMA treasurer, said it was a ‘step in the right direction’ that Ms May ‘made positive indications that EU citizens’ rights to remain in the UK would be part of the British negotiating position’.
He said it is ‘important we continue to have a flexible immigration system that allows the NHS to recruit doctors from the EU, especially to areas of medicine and parts of the UK, with significant staff shortages, such as emergency medicine and general practice’.
He added: ‘Doctors working in the UK must have a right to remain, with their families, after Brexit..
‘The proposed two year transition period will provide a degree of short term stability on these issues if it is agreed by the EU.’
However the BMA complained that there was ‘still no clarity on how freedom of movement will operate’ once Brexit is complete.
Dr Dearden said: ‘Given we are only 18 months away from exiting the EU, we need to be reaching solutions to the challenges the NHS is facing and ending the damaging ambiguity that currently exists.
‘There needs to be evidence of positive progress in the negotiations that show the Prime Minister’s speech is more than just words and empty promises.’
The BMA also welcomed ‘an acknowledgment of the importance of discussing a “soft border” approach between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic’, which could continue to facilitate all-island specialist healthcare.
14:15 A new HIV antibody developed by scientists and trialled on monkeys has been hailed as an ‘exciting breakthrough’.
Dr Gary Nabel, chief scientific officer at Sanofi, a drugs company involved in the research alongside the US National Institutes of Health, told the BBC News website: ‘They are more potent and have greater breadth than any single naturally occurring antibody that’s been discovered.
‘We’re getting 99% coverage, and getting coverage at very low concentrations of the antibody.’
Prof Linda-Gail Bekker, the president of the International Aids Society, told the BBC: ‘This paper reports an exciting breakthrough.
‘These super-engineered antibodies seem to go beyond the natural and could have more applications than we have imagined to date.
‘t’s early days yet, and as a scientist I look forward to seeing the first trials get off the ground in 2018.’
09:50 GPC prescribing lead Dr Andrew Green has told Pulse the BMA supports the Government’s decision to make gabapentinoids a Class C controlled substance.
This follows over 170 deaths last year recorded as being related to pregabalin and gabapentin.
Dr Green said: ‘It has become increasingly clear over recent years that these drugs have a significant potential for dependence… We would support this change in legislation, which brings these drugs into line with others with similar problems.’
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