Brexit impact haunts the third sector


Brexit fears have been expressed over Parkinson's treatments and funding for international projects

29th January 2018 by Gareth Jones 1 Comment

Brexit is continuing to generate fear in the Scottish third sector.

Parkinson’s UK has highlighted worries over people being able to access medication when the country leaves the European Union (EU).

It is the latest charity to speak out over fears the sector will sufffer a disastrous exodus of staff, skills and talent post-Brexit.

Parkinson’s UK was responding to an inquiry by the Scottish Parliament’s health and sport committee into the Impact of leaving the European Union on health and social care in Scotland.

Annie Macleod, director of Parkinson’s UK in Scotland, said: “We have two major concerns around access to medication. Firstly there is a potential that any disruption to the supply chain would lead to medication shortages and people with Parkinson’s being forced to switch between preparations. We also want to see action to avoid any delays in making new drugs and treatments available

“Parkinson’s medications are often available in branded and generic versions. The medicines are currently manufactured in several EU countries, and can have lengthy international supply chains. The medicines can often be substituted, but for many people changes in supply of Parkinson’s medication or switching between generics and brands leads to sudden treatment failure with subsequent risk of serious complications such as infections and falls.

“We are seriously concerned that there will be major problems if people with Parkinson’s cannot access a continuous supply of the specific preparations that work for them.”

The charity has also highlighted the potential for further pressures on the health and social care workforce and the threat to continued collaborative Parkinson’s research that Brexit could bring.

Another health charity, the British Heart Foundation has previously questioned whether its life-saving research would suffer after EU withdrawal, while care charity Camphill Scotland, has said it is worried about the future as up to 40% of its staff come from the continent.

Macleod added: “There’s a lack of clarity about the terms under which EU nationals will be able to work in Scotland after Brexit. It is vital that any solution does not overlook care workers who could well fall below any earnings threshold attached to the right to remain and work.”

Meanwhile, Scottish Government international development minister Dr Alasdair Allan wrote to his UK counterpart Penny Mordaunt to raise concerns about her comments in a newspaper article, in which she pledged to use Britain’s foreign aid as part of a “bold new Brexit-ready proposition to boost trade and investment with developing countries”.

He said: “I was concerned to read that you intend to use UK aid to mitigate the negative impacts of Brexit on trade and investment with the UK’s security and prosperity key factors in deciding how aid is spent. The reiteration that aid spend must be ‘in the national interest’ was particularly disappointing.

“The Scottish Government’s International Development Policy positively articulates the vision of Scotland’s place in the world as a good global citizen, committed to playing its role in contributing to addressing the challenges faced by our world. We are also committed to delivering the first minister’s support of the UN Global Goals.”

1st February 2018 by Rose Burn

There may be a potential problem with the supply of medicines but as the UK has one of the largest pharmaceutical centres in the world and is a big exporter of drugs globally including the EU isn’t it very likely that medical supplies are sorted out so EU citizens don’t suffer, and hence neither will UK patients? Secondly EU citizen access was already sorted out last December at the UK/EU summit.