Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature EU Referendum and Health

Would Brexit stop the flow of doctors and patients between EU countries?

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: (Published 06 June 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i3138
  1. Anne Gulland, journalist, London, UK
  1. agulland{at}

In the last of a series on the implications for health of the UK leaving the European Union, Anne Gulland examines the likely effects on freedom of movement

Would British doctors no longer be able to work elsewhere in Europe?

The European Union’s Mutual Recognition of Professional Qualifications Directive passed into UK law in January this year. It is the key regulation allowing doctors to practise in other EU states, as well as in Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein, and promotes the automatic recognition of professional experience. The directive also allows European regulators to check applicants’ language skills and includes an early warning system advising when a doctor is banned or has restrictions on their practise.

The number of UK trained doctors practising in Europe is thought to be low, although nobody collects statistics. They can expect that any barriers the UK puts up if it leaves the EU will be matched by EU countries.

Would European collaboration in medical research change?

According …

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