NHS Confederation, integrated care

Whether a ‘hard Brexit’ (outside the EU single market) or a softer option - which, following the high court ruling last week that the government could not trigger article 50 to leave the EU without parliamentary backing, looks altogether more likely - there will be challenges ahead for both the UK and the EU to ensure smooth healthcare delivery and access to health technology innovation in the post-Brexit world, says Elisabetta Zanon, Director at the NHS European Office in Brussels, in a blog post this month.

As the UK-EU negotiations unfold, it will be crucial to give full consideration to these issues and to ensure that our new relationship with the EU “will not result in unintended consequences for patient care by slowing down access to new technologies”, she says.

The timing of the negotiations also means that they are due to run in parallel with the national implementation of new EU regulations on medical devices which were recently agreed, as well as with enhanced efforts at EU level towards greater collaborative work between member states in the areas of health technology assessment, eHealth and mhealth.

This raises questions, both for UK and EU policy makers, on the place the UK will occupy in the EU’s health technology policy landscape in the future, and whether it will maintain its involvement in it after Brexit. “The UK has made a very substantial contribution to the shaping of EU policy and regulation in this area, leading numerous initiatives and developments for the benefit not only of the UK, but of the EU as well,” says Zanon. It has also supported the European agenda on innovation and has significantly contributed to the plans for the new European Innovation Council.

She concludes by saying, “I am sure that our expertise will be missed by the EU!” What do you think? How can we assure a positive future for UK-EU healthcare?

Read the full post here – How to ensure access to health technology innovation in a post-Brexit world

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