March 2019 is not getting any further away, and the UK Government is still struggling to make any progress in ongoing Brexit negotiations. With the aim of guiding the nations of Great Britain into a future that lacks the robust economic and legal framework set out by the European Union, the ‘deal’ that is reached between the UK and the continental body of governance will determine the state of domestic and foreign affairs for decades to come.
As we prepare to leave the organisation in just over 10 months, politicians continue to argue over what sort of deal can and should be sought with an understanding that the relationship between the UK and the EU will inevitably change as it becomes a non-member state.
Some of the most opinionated parliamentary members are suggesting that a “no-deal” is the most advantageous option, which would mean hard Brexit and a miniscule chance of maintaining the benefits that the EU brings to the UK in terms of trade, business and workers to name just a few. It is no understatement to suggest that the debate over what a post-EU Britain will look like has taken countless twists and turns, but whilst the disputes in parliament continue to hinder development, important businesses are tiring of the prospect of an uncertain future.
The chance of a no-deal EU exit could be becoming more likely and the NHS, an institution that was frequently used by the Leave campaign as a sector that will receive huge investment if they triumphed, looks on anxiously. The medical supplies needed to provide the public with treatment, and the doctors that administer them, are likely to face mass shortages in the midst of the current governmental chaos. The NHS is currently taking measures to prepare for a total shutdown of EU relations in the case of a no-deal despite Prime Minister Theresa May’s promise to find a ‘clear direction’ for the UK in recent talks. For the NHS, a healthcare system that has been under strain from government cuts and under staffing for decades, the consequences of a no-deal would be dire.
To give just one example of the impact it could have, if the UK leaves Euratom – a company that regulates the nuclear industry that exists in Europe – it is likely that access to vital cancer treatments such as medical isotopes will be limited if available at all to UK patients. Despite calls for a “close association” to be maintained with Euratom by Theresa May, there is no guarantee that the government has the capacity to unify and strike a deal with such companies that are essential to the wellbeing of the British public. At this time of political turmoil and outright confusion year as we step into a new wave of European policy-making, the government should be working towards creating a wholesome and all-encompassing deal with the EU. If they fail, some of the most essential sectors of our society will face disorder and destruction on a mass-scale.