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No-deal Brexit to irreparably ravage healthcare services, warns BMA

Leaving the EU without securing a deal will cause irreparable damages to the NHS, the BMA has said.

In a briefing document published today, the BMA warned the Government that a no-deal Brexit will ‘irreparably harm the NHS and the nation’s health’.

It comes after 16 medical royal colleges and charities, including the RCGP, told the Prime Minister that a no-deal Brexit could cause additional pressures during the flu season

The BMA has repeatedly voiced its opposition against a no-deal Brexit, urging the Government to take ‘every possible step’ to avoid it

In its latest report, the BMA challenged the Government to answer a series of questions on areas that will suffer as a result of a no-deal outcome, including medicines and medical devices regulation and reciprocal healthcare arrangements. 

BMA Council chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the BMA ‘is in no doubt’ that Brexit, more particularly a no-deal scenario, will ‘irreparably harm the NHS and the nation’s health.

Dr Nagpaul added the impact of a no-deal Brexit, coupled with winter pressures, is likely to result in the ‘disintegration’ of the NHS. 

He said: ‘Cancelled operations, missed cancer treatment targets and patients in corridors waiting for hours on end to be seen; recent winters have seen unprecedented scenes unfold in our hospitals, GP surgeries and across the NHS, with patients suffering and staff under increasing pressure as resources and capacity struggle to keep up with rocketing demand.

‘Add to that chaos a “no deal” Brexit, and the disintegration of the health service becomes an ever more real prospect.’

He continued: ‘The BMA has been clear of the danger that Brexit poses to the NHS, its staff and patients – a ‘no deal’ will severely damage our health service and the nation’s health.

‘From disruption to essential medicine supplies, patient healthcare and the loss of highly skilled doctors, to the potential return of a hard border in Northern Ireland, no area of health will be left unscathed by a “no deal”. The consequences will be catastrophic.’

Last year, GPs were warned not to prescribe longer prescriptions or stockpile medicine ahead of Brexit.

Pulse previously reported that the NHS will be unable to guarantee a supply of medicines should the UK leave the EU without a deal. 

Meanwhile, GPs told Pulse in a recent survey that Brexit has increased anxiety-related conditions among their patients

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