Health

Why Brexit could be bad for your health

Consider it a Swiss health warning.

The Alpine country’s battles with the EU over emergency notifications about dangerous diseases is a preview of what could come with Brexit.

In a worst-case scenario, it could mean Britain receiving no official updates from Spain about a person diagnosed with Ebola, or France hitting a wall of silence from Britain about the latest news on bacterial resistance to antibiotics.

It is Switzerland’s experience that has signaled the alarm. The country’s foreign ministry said this month that Bern’s stalled talks over integrating into the EU single market means that its bilateral arrangement with the EU on public health early warning systems is still on ice.

The implication is that, for now, Swiss medical officialshave to find out about infectious disease outbreaks on an informal basis from contacts across the EU.

Worryingly for the U.K., Switzerland’s negotiations with the EU have been dogged by exactly the same sort of issues that are at stake in Brexit negotiations: the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and freedom of movement.

Paul Cosford, director of health protection at Public Health England, a government agency, stressed that Britain was a world leader in tackling cross-border threats and underlined the importance of communication. “We benefit from a range of international information-sharing mechanisms in the area of health security, including with the EU, among others and believe it is in everyone’s interests to continue to collaborate closely going forward,” he said.

“Anything from anywhere in the world can be in the EU in 24 hours. With a neighboring country it’s even more quickly” — Andrea Ammon, ECDC chief

As an EU member, the U.K. participates in the Early Warning and Response System of the European Union (EWRS), a tool for monitoring public health threats in the EU that could spread across borders, and the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF), which sends alerts 24/7 about potential threats detected in the food supply, according to the European Commission.

The U.K. also is a member of the Health Security Committee, which meets under the Commission’s supervision to coordinate responses to cross-border health threats. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) also runs the European Surveillance System (TESSy), which depends on countries to supply data on 52 infectious diseases and other health issues that it then collects, analyses and disseminates.

ECDC chief Andrea Ammon conceded in a recent interview with POLITICO that she was in the dark about what would happen. She explained the ECDC works extensively with Public Health England but “will have to abide by whatever solution the EU and the United Kingdom will find in the negotiations.” Until those negotiations are concluded, “I really can’t make any predictions,” she said.

“Of course from a public health point of view we need to find a way to work with countries outside of the EU,” said Ammon, noting there are many models of how the ECDC has done so already. With infectious disease, “anything from anywhere in the world can be in the EU in 24 hours. With a neighboring country it’s even more quickly.”

Medical staff remove protective clothing | Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

A Commission spokesperson said that the U.K. would participate in all EU rapid alert systems until it leaves but accepted that the situation was not clear after March 2019. If the two sides manage to agree on a transition period, the U.K. is expected to stay a member of RASFF, one Commission official added.

An ECDC spokesman said: “At this point it cannot be excluded that the outcome of the negotiations could have an impact on our work with U.K. public health institutions … However, any impact study can only be concluded once the outcome of the discussions between the U.K. and the EU following the Brexit negotiations is known.”

There is precedent for non-EU countries being involved in at least some of the rapid alert systems. For instance, TESSy includes data from the EU28 plus two of the three other European Economic Area countries: Iceland and Norway. The RASFF includes food safety authorities from Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland as well as the EU28.

Some EU surveillance systems will continue regardless of Brexit, for instance, the ECDC’s communicable disease threats reports, which are weekly summaries of all information gathered through “epidemic intelligence activities.”

Original Article

Related Articles

140 Comments

  1. Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good results. If you know of any please share.

  2. You really make it appear so easy along with your presentation but I to find this matter to be really something that I feel I’d by no means understand. It sort of feels too complicated and extremely extensive for me. I am having a look ahead to your subsequent put up, I’ll attempt to get the dangle of it!

  3. It¡¦s in point of fact a nice and helpful piece of info. I am satisfied that you just shared this helpful info with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  5. I’m impressed, I must say. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s both educative and engaging, and without a doubt, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The problem is something that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I am very happy I stumbled across this in my hunt for something relating to this.

  6. I’m not sure exactly why but this web site is loading very slow for me. Is anyone else having this issue or is it a issue on my end? I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists.

  7. Hey there! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having difficulty finding one? Thanks a lot!

  8. What’s Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It positively helpful and it has aided me out loads. I hope to give a contribution & assist other customers like its helped me. Great job.

  9. Link exchange is nothing else but it is just placing the other person’s web site link on your page at appropriate place and other person will also do same in support of you.

  10. Heya i am for the primary time here. I came across this board and I find It truly helpful & it helped me out much. I am hoping to present something back and help others such as you aided me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button