International collaboration

New report on how Brexit has changed international collaboration published

Public Health Wales have published a report detailing how leaving the EU has changed the way in which Wales collaborates with its international partners on how best to deal with infection preparedness, infection and response.

The report, entitled Has Brexit changed how Wales participates in global infectious disease prevention, preparedness and response?, explores whether or not the UK’s exit from the EU has affected its international relationships and how it is dealing with future infection threats.

Key findings from the report included:

  • International collaboration is integral to three main areas of preparedness, prevention and response:
    • Data and information – the timely sharing of data and information ensures that any threats or outbreaks are identified as quickly as possible so that an effective response can be co-ordinated.
    • Trading – the trading of medicines ensures that resources get to where they are most needed in an efficient time period.
    • Research – collaborating on research allows international partners to better understand and treat infectious diseases.
  • Brexit has changed the way Wales works with the EU in these areas and has resulted in the UK having to develop new international partners.
  • Even though the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit overlapped, several post-Brexit arrangements were still being developed, meaning that only during the next international health emergency will the new systems and protocols be fully tested.
  • There is evidence that Brexit could impact the health and wellbeing of the Welsh people – appropriate consideration should be given to the impact Brexit could have on the Welsh population when it comes to infectious disease preparedness, prevention and response.

Senior Policy Specialist at Public Health Wales, Louisa Petchey, said: “Leaving the EU has changed the way the UK and Wales work with countries around the world to tackle public health threats of global importance.

“The COVID-19 pandemic gave us a glimpse of what these new processes and partnerships look like in action but the situation is still evolving. The next infectious disease threat is where we will be able to fully understand the impact of Brexit. 

“In the meantime, we hope this report shines a light on how policy decisions that can seem distant from health – like the process of leaving the EU – can have consequences for health and well-being in Wales and beyond.”

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