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Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services

First published:
26 June 2018
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government


I will continue to work closely with my Cabinet colleagues, health and social care organisations and key stakeholders to secure the best possible deal for the people of Wales.  

I urge Members to consider this further detail alongside my statement today.

Members will have today received the Welsh NHS Confederation’s Policy Forum paper, ‘The key issues for health and social care organisations as the UK prepares to leave the European Union’. The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges in Wales has also undertaken work into the risks around Brexit which can be found on their website:

• Urgent clarity on arrangements for reciprocal healthcare for EU citizens working or visiting the UK and similarly for UK citizens in Europe;

• Continued relations with the Euratom Treaty to ensure patients in Wales get consistent and timely access to radioisotopes for cancer treatments;

• Continued close collaboration on disease surveillance, maintaining environmental and health standards and measures to promote public health;

• Close collaboration between the UK and the European Medicines Agency to prevent delays to new medicines and medical devices for patients;

• Ongoing recognition of professional qualifications to ensure patient safety and enabling our health and social care sectors to fill workforce gaps quickly;

• Continued access to key EU  funding programmes and collaboration on  research and innovation;

• Assurances that EEA health and social care staff currently working in Wales should be able to stay in the UK with the same rights being extended to UK citizens working in other EEA Countries;

• A flexible immigration system that is responsive of health, medical research and social care sectors;

With just nine months to go before the UK leaves the EU, any negotiated settlement will be unacceptable to the Welsh Government unless it provides assurances and clarity on the following fundamental risks posed by the Brexit to the future health and wellbeing of the people of Wales:

I will be making an oral statement on this matter later today. To complement this I draw Members attention to more detailed analysis of the risks Brexit poses to health and social care services in Wales. We know the main areas of risk are related to workforce, access to and the trade of medicines, vaccine and medical devices, radioisotopes, food safety and consumer protection, infectious disease control and research.