From 1 February 2020, the UK will no longer be a member of the European Union (EU). The British government and the EU have agreed an 11-month implementation period to start immediately, during which our future relationship will be negotiated.
During this implementation period, which is due to end on 31 December 2020, the free movement of goods, people, services and financial payments between the UK and the EU will continue as they have done before.
Until the end of 2020, there will be little change for people and patients, as well as for businesses and charities like Anthony Nolan because the UK will continue to follow EU rules for this period.
The government wants to agree our future relationship with the EU by the end of December 2020. If this is agreed, it will include new rules on how goods and services cross between the UK and the EU; on travelling, living and working abroad, and the rates of import taxes for supplies coming in from the EU.
The EU think it will be difficult to agree such a wide-ranging deal by the end of 2020 and instead, a basic agreement may have to be agreed to maintain essential rules whilst negotiations continue into 2021.
If such a basic agreement is not agreed, the UK would likely leave the implementation period and we could possibly experience disruption similar to that expected as a result of a so-called ‘No-Deal’ Brexit. Should this occur, we will work with government and partners internationally to ensure we are fully prepared.
As part of our planning for life outside of the EU and the implementation period, we’re making sure the government fully understand our lifesaving work and explore potential opportunities which could help support the stem cell registry, further champion clinical trials and improve services.
We don’t think there is any reason for patients that are waiting for or recovering from a stem cell transplant to worry. We will continue to work with UK transplant centres, regulators and international partners to make sure the interests of patients are safeguarded. We have addressed some of the most pressing questions that we think patients might have about Brexit below.
Until the end of 2020, the UK will continue to follow EU rules including those relating to how human tissues and cells are collected, prepared, stored and transported internationally. This includes continuing to meet all EU safety and quality standards. This means there will be no impact on our ability to efficiently transport donated cells around the world.
We will continue to work closely with our regulators, the Human Tissues Authority (HTA); the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), and our partners in the EU to ensure the continued smooth supply of stem cells from donors in the EU beyond the implementation period.
Throughout 2019, we have been working hard to establish written agreements with donor registries within the EU. These independent agreements will ensure donated stem cells are handled and delivered as we expect, and for information to be shared securely between registries as it was done before.
Freedom of movement for goods, services and people will continue until the end of 2020. With the UK continuing to follow EU rules, we do not expect any delays or disruption.
Future arrangements for international travel will be agreed as part of the UK and EU’s future relationship, and we will monitor developments as these negotiations progress. Be assured that our fantastic volunteer couriers have years of experience of travelling quickly and efficiently across Europe and around the world.
Supplies of medicines and medical products from the EU will continue under the same customs rules during the implementation period, as they have done before. We will continue to communicate with Transplant Centres, Consultants and the NHS in the event of any shortages unrelated to the UK’s departure from the EU.
As the UK’s future relationship with the EU is being negotiated, we will emphasise the need for continued undisrupted, equitable access to medicines and medical products.
Until the end of 2020, UK research institutions and scientists will be able to access research funding from the European Commission. Funding programmes such as Horizon 2020 support projects across the UK with a recent analysis stating over half of all international funding for UK health research came from the European Commission.
After 31 December 2020, the UK will no longer receive funding from EU programmes as though it were a member of the EU. A key part of the UK’s future relationship with the EU will be whether, as a non-EU member, we choose to take part in programmes such as Horizon 2020.
At Anthony Nolan, we will continue to work with our international research collaborators. We’re also striving to improve access to clinical trials so that new treatments can be developed and approved more quickly.
If you have any concerns about how Brexit or the UK’s future relationship with the EU could affect your own treatment, please speak to your medical team. They will be able to give personal advice and answer any questions you have.
You can also contact the Anthony Nolan Patient Services team on 0303 303 0303 or firstname.lastname@example.org.