The Royal College of General Practitioners’ governing Council has passed a motion in support of a second referendum – commonly known as a ‘People’s Vote’ – on Brexit negotiations.
The motion to oppose Brexit was passed with 46 voting for, 11 voting against and seven abstaining. The motion to support a People’s Vote was passed with 38 voting for, 18 voting against and seven abstaining.
The College, as a registered charity, normally does not take political stances, but has now stated that it will oppose Brexit, which would ‘"grievously undermine" its objective to "encourage, foster and maintain the highest possible standards in general medical practice".
Among the points listed in the motion listed were: “Recognising that leaving the European Union may damage the United Kingdom’s access to medicines, devices and radioisotopes,” and that the RCGP Council 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.”
Also: “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”, and “recognising that leaving the European Union may damage the recruitment and retention of the healthcare professional workforce in the United Kingdom.”
Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said the College had carefully considered the implications of taking a view on Brexit, particularly given its 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.”