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President's Blog: Brexit and the Academy


Dear Healthcare Scientists,


We have heard the verdict of the European Referendum and with pretty much a 50:50 split across the country we need to be sure that no matter what challenges lie ahead as the UK splits from the European Union, we have to be aware that many of your professional body members will continue to have strong professional links with Europe through European professional bodies, Royal Colleges and other scientific bodies. Personally I have just been given the Fellowship of the European Respiratory Society and plan to continue working closely with European colleagues on standards, guidelines and leadership of people in my profession. I am sure there are many more of you in the same position.

There is much legislation around health & safety and accreditation that has and will continue to have its roots in Europe, so I suspect that because of the globalised medical equipment world we live in, not much will actually change for a long time if at all.  The NHS has been used as a pawn in some of the campaigning and it will be a while before we understand the full implications, perhaps good and bad, on the services we all deliver.  We were always aware that the European Union was an important source of scientific research funding, which may be affected by different directions between European and UK governments.  However, as scientists we have a role in ensuring that where we can, we should maintain cooperation , links and support with our European colleagues , but also be open to ideas outside of Europe as well (e.g. USA, Asia-Pacific).

I think we can all agree that the political campaign was very poor from both sides with much misinformation, ignorance, accusation, frustration and intolerance evident across the board.  It seems only now in the cold light of day that the truths and impact of the decision is beginning to emerge. Fears are being replaced with realities, guesses with true implications, half plans with full consequences.  It is likely that the worst scenarios painted may not actually come to fruition, but change always brings uncertainty, lack of confidence and caution.  However, change also brings new opportunities, unforeseen consequences and a chance to improve some things for the better.  As Healthcare Scientists we should not be despondent.  We are used to uncertainty and exploring new ways forward – two essentials of research and innovation.

The Academy One Voice will continue to speak up for Healthcare Science interests, and use the change to bolster our cause with new political faces and forces.  We will continue to drive forward the quality and standards agenda and hopefully influence the new political/economic situation that emerges. Now is not the time to be divisive, not the time to be negative, not the time to over-react, but to be vigilant and patient for opportunities to get the best outcomes for our patients and Healthcare Science services. Keep Calm and Carry On being Professional!


Best regards,


Dr Brendan Cooper B.SC. (Hons), M.Sc., Ph.D. C.Biol., FRSB, FERS

President, AHCS

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