• Letter signed by Sir David Nicholson and Helen Stokes-Lampard, among others
  • Calls Brexit a grave risk to public health
  • Raises concerns over immediate and long-term consequences of no-deal

Health leaders, including a former NHS chief executive, have signed a letter calling on the prime minister to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

The letter said its signatories were “increasingly alarmed at the risks associated with a ‘no-deal’ Brexit”. They called on Theresa May to work with Parliament and the European Union to prevent the UK from leaving the EU without a deal.

The letter, which was coordinated by the patient voice charity National Voices, has been signed by senior figures from the health professions, third sector, and health service.

These include former NHS chief executive Sir David Nicholson, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Tavistock and Portman Foundation Trust and former health minister Paul Burstow, chief executive of The Queen’s Nursing Institute Crystal Oldman and Lord Darzi of Denham.

“As the government’s contingency planning demonstrates, a ‘no-deal’ Brexit poses grave risks to public health and patient safety, and would require extraordinary measures in mitigation,” the letter said.

The document stated there are immediate concerns around the supply of medicines, devices and other essential medical products.

“But a ‘no-deal’ exit would also have serious implications for the availability of staff in care and research settings, the arrangements governing reciprocal healthcare, the regulation of medicines and devices, and the UK’s involvement in pan-European research and innovation and in public health and prevention initiatives,” the letter added.

“All of these would be affected over an indefinite period of time. The most disadvantaged in society would be likely to be most at risk.”