The tight deadlines could result in the transition period ending without an agreed deal.
A no-deal Brexit would be “catastrophic” for the NHS, the British Medical Association (BMA) has warned.
Following the Prime Minister’s meeting with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to discuss a possible post-Brexit trade agreement, the BMA’s lead trade negotiator and deputy chair Dr. David Wrigley issued the stark warning.
Dr. Wrigley announced that given the complex nature of these negotiations and the challenges of the pandemic, there are concerns that working to the tight deadline could result in the transition period ending without an agreed deal.
Furthermore, the BMA has warned of the potentially catastrophic impact that a no-deal Brexit would have for patients, the workforce, and health services in the UK; the NHS faces challenging circumstances, with a huge backlog of care and the ongoing demands of Covid-19, Dr Wrigley says it cannot be placed in further jeopardy.
The deputy chair believes a deal is needed to protect the rights of the EU healthcare workforce in the NHS and to ensure that the NHS is safeguarded and to guarantee access to medicines.
Dr Wrigley warned that will threaten supply chains of vital supplies, such as pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and protective equipment, needs to be avoided.
About the future deal, Dr. Wrigley said: “It must also take into careful consideration of the unique position of Northern Ireland and make sure that there is no disruption to the provision of cross-border healthcare or the flow of medicines and medical devices between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
“At this crucial moment, the Government must listen to the voice of the medical profession and ensure it strikes a deal that permits our health service to thrive and allows us to continue treating patients to the highest possible level.”