Lawyers in warning over Brexit impact on NHS
The Law Society of Scotland said leaving the EU “will affect many aspects of the provision of health and social care” in Britain.
With negotiations taking place ahead of the UK’s departure, they stressed it is “vitally important” the access and availability of nuclear health materials is safeguarded.
As part of the Brexit process, the UK has announced its intention to leave the European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom), whose supply agency sources and provides the medical radioisotopes that are used in radiotherapy.
“Nuclear technology is used for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. British nuclear reactors cannot produce radioisotopes, which form the core material for nuclear treatment,” the report said.
Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant which is under construction in Somerset will be able to produce the necessary material – but not until 2027.
The Law Society of Scotland’s analysis paper said: “Withdrawal from the Euratom raises major concerns of the supply and availability of this life-saving material.
“There is a serious concern that the early diagnosis and treatment of cancer will be greatly affected by leaving the Euratom. This concern is shared by, amongst others, The Royal College of Radiologists.”
As a result the report said: “It is vitally important that Brexit negotiators ensure that the access and availability of nuclear health materials is safeguarded.”
Brexit could also impact on the European Medicines Agency, which is based in London and regulates medicines for both humans and animals, allowing pharmaceutical companies to make one single application to get approval for products across the EU as well as in Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein.
The EMA, which employs 900 people and is the largest EU organisation in the UK, could relocate after Brexit, with the Law Society of Scotland warning: “For the UK, as well as the loss of an organisation as a substantial employer, would be the impact of loss of access to the single market authorisation.
“This may result in additional time-consuming process, isolation and extra expense with medicinal companies choosing to relocate within an EEA (European Economic Area) country.
“A major concern is that the above would result in delays to accessing new treatments and medications.”
SNP MSP Emma Harper said: “What’s particularly worrying is that months after triggering Article 50 we look no closer to solving these issues – and the clock is ticking.”