UK Health Law Outside the EU: Immediate, Intermediate and Long Term Impacts

Professor Jean McHale, Director of the Centre for Health Law, Science and Policy at Birmingham Law School has been awarded ESRC funding under the UK in a Changing Europe Initiative for an 18-month project examining “UK Health Law Outside the EU: Immediate, Intermediate and Long Term Impacts”. 

Over the last 20 years the EU has had an increasing impact on health law in the EU and thus Brexit raises many practical questions for health lawyers and policy makers in this area. Professor Tamara Hervey (Sheffield) and Dr Mark Flear (Belfast) are co-Investigators.  The project involves a detailed examination of the impact of Brexit on Health Law in the UK from the perspective of the UK and of  the devolved jurisdictions. 

Issues under consideration in this ESRC project include first, the impact of withdrawal from the EU on reciprocal health care rights including the European Health Insurance Card, retirees in other member states and UK patients seeking to use free movement rights to access treatment abroad.  Secondly, clinical trials regulation, pharmaceutical regulation and medical devices are currently the subject of EU law and the project will examine the impact of Brexit on this area.

Public health law is also currently considerably impacted by EU law in areas such as Tobacco regulation. Recognition of health care professional qualifications and related health professional mobility is another issue which will need to be resolved. Particular issues arising in relation to the devolved jurisdictions will include health care provision across the Northern Ireland- Republic of Ireland border and the impact of Brexit on current cross-border care initiatives.

The project funding includes funding for the appointment of a research assistant for the duration of the project and for workshops in each of the devolved jurisdictions and with policy makers in Brussels as well as a final project dissemination event.

Professor McHale is also one of the co-authors of the recent Report Red, Yellow and Blue Brexit: The Manifestos Uncovered published by the UK in a Changing Europe Initiative (May 2017).