Northern Ireland news

No deal Brexit will damage health care, BMA warns

Dr John D Woods, chair of the British Medical Association in Northern Ireland

A `NO deal' Brexit will have a serious impact on the delivery of health care in the north, a doctors' union has warned.

In a new briefing paper, the British Medical Association (BMA) outlined the potential risks.

These included the return to a hard border, a breakdown in all-island service delivery and the impact on the medical workforce if current mutual recognition of professional qualifications and freedom of movement were not maintained.

Dr John D Woods, BMA Northern Ireland council chair, said any developments "which risk destabilising the Good Friday Agreement" could make Northern Ireland a less attractive place to work.

In addition, it would make retaining clinicians in the north even more difficult, he said.

"The return of a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland would deter cross border workers, a key element of our health staffing, from making the daily commute and thereby putting an already pressurised service under even more strain," Dr Woods said.

"The current arrangements for cross-border delivery of health services, such as paediatric cardiac care and cancer services, bring great benefit to patients. On its own, Northern Ireland is not large enough to sustain such all-island specialised services."

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