Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Brexit

Brexit and the NHS: where are we now?

BMJ 2020; 368 doi: (Published 30 January 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;368:m318
  1. Mark Dayan, Brexit programme lead
  1. Nuffield Trust, London, UK
  1. Mark.Dayan{at}

Healthcare will need to fight its corner against other sectors in upcoming negotiations, says Mark Dayan

At the end of this week Brexit will be done. The UK will have left the European Union, in a process that will be difficult to reverse and that a powerful majority government intends to progress at full tilt.

But this won’t make any immediate difference: a standstill “transition” will keep almost every law and process fixed in place. So what real changes will affect doctors and others working in the NHS? When? And is it too late to influence what they might be?

The crucial date looks set to be the end of 2020, when the transition period ends. At that point the UK moves from being closely enmeshed in the European Union to formally relating to it only through one or more trade and cooperation agreements—or none. Before then, agreements will need to be ratified by parliaments across Europe, so negotiation will have to happen only during a few months in the middle of this year.

As one of the most globalised aspects of healthcare, drugs and devices will be strongly affected. The Department of Health and Social …

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