Royal College of GPs backs 'People's Vote' on Brexit

Publication date: 24 November 2018

The Royal College of General Practitioners' governing Council has today passed a motion in support of a second referendum – commonly known as a 'People's Vote' – on Brexit negotiations.

The Council also passed a motion to oppose the UK's exit from the European Union. 

The full text of the motion that was passed was:

"Recognising that leaving the European Union may damage the recruitment and retention of the healthcare professional workforce in the United Kingdom;

Recognising that leaving the European Union may potentially damage the mutual recognition of the qualifications of healthcare professionals between the European Union and the United Kingdom;

Recognising that leaving the European Union may damage recruitment to, and retention of, the social care workforce;

Recognising that leaving the European Union may damage cross-border arrangements for healthcare between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland;

Recognising that leaving the European Union may damage reciprocal healthcare arrangements between the European Union and the United Kingdom, including eligibility for the European Health Insurance Card;

Recognising that leaving the European Union may damage public health in the United Kingdom and international cooperation on public health;

Recognising that leaving the European Union may damage the United Kingdom's access to medicines, devices and radioisotopes;

Recognising that leaving the European Union may damage scientific collaboration, scientific and medical research programmes, participation in international clinical trials, including pharmaceutical research studies; free movement of scientists, including medical researchers; and collaboration between universities in the United Kingdom and the European Union;

Recognising the need for the facts about the damage to the UK healthcare professional workforce, public health, access to medicines, devices and radio-isotopes, and damage to the National Health Service, science, research and universities to be put before the citizens of the United Kingdom;

The Council of the Royal College of General Practitioners believes that the objective, non-partisan evidence in relation to the deleterious effects of Brexit on health and healthcare means that the College should oppose Brexit,  because the object for which the College is incorporated is 'to encourage, foster and maintain the highest possible standards in general medical practice'; because the College is obliged  'to take or join with others in taking any steps consistent with the charitable nature of that object'; and that object would be grievously undermined by Brexit.

The Council of the Royal College of General Practitioners believes that the public should have a final say on the Brexit deal, including the options of accepting the deal, rejecting the deal, and remaining within the European Union."

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: "The College has considered carefully the implications of taking a view on Brexit, particularly given our status as a registered charity.

"We are also a membership body with more than 52,000 members, all of whom will have their own views on the UK exiting the European Union, but the level of feeling by UK Council – who have been elected by the membership to represent their interests – was that the risks of Brexit to the NHS and patient safety and care were significant enough to take a stance.

"The motion to oppose Brexit was passed with 46 voting for, 11 voting against and 6 abstaining. The motion to support a People's Vote was passed with 38 voting for, 18 voting against and 7 abstaining.

"We will now consider how the College can take these decisions forward."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7633/7574/7575
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659
press@rcgp.org.uk

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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