Patient safety

13.12.17

Access to treatments could reduce post-Brexit

UK patients are at risk of missing out on new treatments after Brexit if a deal is not struck, experts have warned.

Speaking at a Health Committee inquiry yesterday, Dr Jane Spink, chief executive of Genetic Alliance UK, cautioned that if the UK is unable to secure access to European research funding and collaboration as part of the Brexit negotiations, access to trials and medicines for rare diseases in the UK would likely reduce.

Having access to pan-Europeans trials, particularly in the context of a rare diseases, is really critically important because in many rare diseases there are no existing treatments, or existing treatments may be suboptimal,” she explained.

“For a large proportion of rare diseases, the conditions are degenerative, so your ability to access medicines early, even be that through a clinical trial, is incredibly important to patients with rare diseases.

“The least desirable scenario would be for trials to be ongoing in Europe to which UK patients have no access, and then to see products licensed in Europe to which UK patients have no access or delayed access.”

Aisling Burnand MBE, chief executive of the Association of Medical Research Charities, expressed concerns as to where the funding for research in the UK would come from post-2020.

In an ideal Brexit scenario, she said that patients would continue to have fast access to treatments and that there should be continued alignment and collaboration with EU member states.

Currently patients in countries such as Canada, Australia and Switzerland suffer delays of six to 12 months to access new treatments, which Burnand warned must be minimised in the UK.

She also explained that it is important that the UK continues to collaborate with experts across the EU, and for the UK’s young talent to be able to work with these experts and bring knowledge back to the country.

Dr. Beth Thompson, head of UK and EU policy at the Wellcome Trust, was optimistic that a positive agreement should be achievable because of the “mutual benefits.”

However, she warned that a ‘no deal’ Brexit would be extremely challenging because of funding, movement of people and regulatory alignment.

“If political will is there, we should be able to reach a good agreement,” Thompson concluded.

In August, the Brexit Health Alliance listed access to new medicines and healthcare research as some of the top issues in negotiations with Brussels, with NHS Confederation boss Niall Dickson arguing patients “stand to lose out” if these areas aren’t prioritised.

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an NHE columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

Eric Nicholls   13/12/2017 at 22:52

Please encourage the re-establishment of close working relationships and collaborations with North America and those Commonwealth countries that strongly supported the Health Service for decades until 20 years ago when they were discouraged and people from the Continent were favoured. Don't despair and don't forget those from other nations that have done far more for the UK and for far longer than any and all of the EU countries.

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest healthcare news

‘Standing at a crossroads’: Health chief warns future of NHS integration risks being monopolised

15/11/2018‘Standing at a crossroads’: Health chief warns future of NHS integration risks being monopolised

Addressing delegates as his organisation’s summit, the chief executive of NHS Partners Network David Hare has warned today that “it&r... more >
Capita must be stripped of ‘shambolic’ national contract after failing to send over 48,000 letters

15/11/2018Capita must be stripped of ‘shambolic’ national contract after failing to send over 48,000 letters

The BMA has written to NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens expressing “extreme concern” over Capita after being made aware that... more >
Workforce shortages now a bigger threat to the NHS than funding

15/11/2018Workforce shortages now a bigger threat to the NHS than funding

The health service’s staffing challenges have become so stark that they now present a bigger threat to the future of the NHS than cuts to f... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital e... read more >

last word

Hard to be optimistic

Hard to be optimistic

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, warns that we must be realistic about the very real effects of continued underfunding across the health service. It’s now bey... more > more last word articles >

the scalpel's daily blog

More men please!

14/11/2018More men please!

Kirstie Stott, director of the Inspiring Leaders Network, flips the gender balance debate on its head and asks: why aren’t there more male nurses? As an advocate for gender equality, I was recently struck by the NHS Provider Board report from NHS Improvement, which is an interesting but not surprising read. As someone who stron... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

comment

Data: the oil of the digital age

07/11/2018Data: the oil of the digital age

Adam Steventon, director of data analytics at the Health Foundation, reviews the government’s digital and data vision for the NHS. Dig... more >
The clinical voice at the heart of procurement

10/10/2018The clinical voice at the heart of procurement

Jo Gander, director of the Clinical and Product Assurance (CaPA) team, talks about their role as part of the new NHS Supply Chain. NHS Suppl... more >
Recoup and recover

10/10/2018Recoup and recover

The ease and round-the-clock nature of making cashless payments has transformed the way we pay for goods and services – and, from now on, t... more >
A push for digital in mental health

10/10/2018A push for digital in mental health

Sean Duggan, chief executive of NHS Confederation’s Mental Health Network, argues that mental health services could hugely benefit from dig... more >

interviews

How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

24/10/2018How can winter pressures be dealt with? Introduce a National Social Care Service, RCP president suggests

A dedicated national social care service could be a potential solution to surging demand burdening acute health providers over the winter months,... more >
RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

24/10/2018RCP president on new Liverpool college building: ‘This will be a hub for clinicians in the north’

The president of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) has told NHE that the college’s new headquarters based in Liverpool will become a hu... more >
Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

24/01/2018Duncan Selbie: A step on the journey to population health

The NHS plays a part in the country’s wellness – but it’s far from being all that matters. Duncan Selbie, chief executive of Pu... more >
Cutting through the fake news

22/11/2017Cutting through the fake news

In an era of so-called ‘fake news’ growing alongside a renewed focus on reducing stigma around mental health, Paul Farmer, chief exec... more >

health service focus

View all News