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Since January 31 2020, the United Kingdom is not part of the European Union anymore. Now that leaves a big question mark, whether there is going to be a follow-up agreement between Great Britain and the EU-member states or a “hard Brexit”. The EU-law (such as the recognition of professional qualifications for dentists) is still valid for the UK until the 31 of December 2020.

According to observers, the consequences of the Brexit are going to affect especially the British healthcare workers: In the present time over 13 percent of them come from foreign countries.  The Brexit could intensify the already ongoing shortage of healthcare workers in the United Kingdom. That would be a big danger for the patient care. In the case of a “hard Brexit”, it might be possible, that Great Britain tries to lure their foreign workers with quick recognition processes or corresponding emoluments.
Without the follow-up agreement the bureaucratic effort for the import of medicinal products to the UK would rise. Right now, Great Britain obtains two thirds of their products from EU-member states. The certification of medicinal products inside the United Kingdom could also get delayed, due to the resignation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA). That inevitably leads to a disadvantage for the patients.

Those are also going to get affected by the discontinuation of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). Right now, it still offers them access to free or reduced medicine in EU-member states.

Independent from the negotiations results it is clear, that the political consequences for dentists in the EU are going to be noticeable: In many key-issues, the United Kingdom has a liberal approach. That stance is apt to be weakened in Brussels from now on. If that loss is going to have a big impact on the discussion about the liberalization of the EU-service markets remains vague.

So far, the British dental organizations have always been quite active in intraprofessional policy discussions at the European level. The Council of European Dentists (CED) tries to keep them as Members after the Brexit. If the follow-up agreement fails, the British Dental Association (BDA) has to leave the CED.
Statements about the exact consequences of the Brexit for dentistry stay vague. However, you can assume that dentists and patients in the United Kingdom are going to be affected more by the consequences than the rest of the EU-member states.

The whole text “Brexit – what now? “, can be read in the “EDI Journal” 1/2020 pp. 52-54  

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