When the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union in a referendum on 23 June 2016, it immediately stirred worldwide panic. The British pound instantly suffered a deep plunge, causing its biggest sell-off in recent history.
The UK, being a major financial hub and player in the global economy, made a decision to isolate itself from the EU. This consequently sent big ripples across markets and triggered cutbacks across the board for government spending, which unfortunately includes the National Health Service (NHS).
In response to the vote, the British Dental Association (BDA) forecasts that the decision will have a tremendous impact on the movement of dentists and dental care professionals, health and safety legislation and the import of dental equipment and materials.
Brexit’s Impact on Dentistry in the UK
While it remains uncertain how Brexit will take shape in the coming years, it is clear that the negotiation period will demand significant changes in the dental workforce, exchange of dental materials, and technology and dental regulation. These changes will most certainly affect the lives of the people as well.
Brexit matters so much for dentistry because cutbacks and uncertainties will likely cause economic fallout. Both the NHS and private practices will suffer during a recession. When the leave agreement takes shape, the dental industry will have to discontinue following EU policies on public health and develop new trade agreements and access to the single market.
According to the BDA, here are the major areas that the UK will have to develop during and after the two-year negotiation phase:
- Public health
- Medical devices and cosmetic products
- Free movement of professionals, recognition of qualifications, studying and workforce planning
- Data protection
- Employment law
- Research and development
Impact on Private Practices
The NHS will most certainly face the bigger challenges and receive the first blow of Brexit. However, Moor Park Specialist Dental Centre, a dental implant practice in London, notes that dental practices will find it a bit easier to cope. Since the UK no longer needs to follow EU directives, small businesses and dental practices will no longer have to meet stringent requirements and carry administrative burdens.
The bigger burden is now in the hands of the BDA as they protect the structure and interests of the dental workforce. The organisation, however, promises to give ample support and advice to their members and continue to foster a good relationship with their European counterparts.