Bad Brexit deal would 'jeopardise safe patient care', warns RCN

Brexit poses an immediate risk to the provision of safe and effective care and calls upon party leaders to help deliver a referendum on the Brexit deal.

The Royal College of Nursing has warned that a bad Brexit deal would 'jeopardise safe patient care'.

The Royal College of Nursing has today written to eight Westminster party leaders calling on them to support a referendum on the final Brexit deal. The letter, signed by Maria Trewern, Chair of Council at the RCN, has been sent to the leaders of the main parties in all four countries, on behalf of the College’s 435,000 members across the UK.

The letter emphasises that Brexit poses an immediate risk to the provision of safe and effective care and calls upon party leaders to help deliver a referendum on the Brexit deal - giving citizens the opportunity to make an informed choice and vote on decisions that will affect generations now and in the future.

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Exacerbate long-standing problems.

Explaining some of the significant challenges posed by UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, including exacerbating existing long-standing problems such as workforce sustainability as the number of EU nurses coming to work in the UK has fallen by over 90% since the vote.

Brexit has particular implications for nursing staff providing care in areas that interface between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The letter also highlights threats such as the dilution of fair employment practices and workers’ rights, and cross-border exchange of knowledge, research and skills. For example, the UK’s membership of the European Medicines Agency, access to medicines, participation in clinical trials and research projects are crucial in the delivery of the person-centred, innovative treatments patients deserve.

The BMA echoed concerns.

Earlier this month the British Medical Association also echoed these concerns and warned that 'no deal' Brexit could have catastrophic consequences for patients.

In the letter, Maria Trewern, Chair of Council at the Royal College of Nursing, said:  “As the debate across our membership has made clear, the implications of Brexit for the health and care system will be numerous.

“There are risks that, if not credibly addressed, may damage population health, as well as severely impact on our members’ ability to provide safe and effective care for their patients in both the short and the long term.

“We have written to all political parties in these terms, as well as publicly shared the content of this letter. This is the next step in our campaigning activity in this area, which will expand in the months to come.”

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