The United Kingdom (UK) left the European Union (EU) at midnight CET (23:00 GMT) on the 31 December 2020. The UK has left with a UK-EU trade and cooperation agreement in place, which ensures some certainty and security and helps protect patients.

Some of the key issues the UK-EU trade and cooperation agreement covers includes:

  • Reciprocal healthcare for UK and EU citizens
  • Medical research
  • Public health and health security

Impact on ELF

ELF is a European organisation with an office in the UK and we want to provide reassurance that our activities and services will not be affected by Brexit. We believe it is more important than ever to work together at the European level and welcome all individuals and organisations who want to get involved in supporting people living with lung conditions and improving lung health from anywhere in Europe and across the globe.

ELF patient organisation network

ELF has a European focus, but this is not limited to the European Union member states. Therefore, organisations not in the EU, which now of course includes those based in the UK, are still welcome to be part of the ELF patient organisation network.

EU projects

ELF is continuing to work on a number EU projects and will be working with new projects in the same way in the future.  We are still able to pursue funding from EU sources and will continue to work hard to do so to offer the patient perspective into EU-funded projects and provide the best service we can for people with lung conditions across all of Europe. Organisations interested in working with European Respiratory Society (ERS) and ELF can continue to do so using the following form:

European reference network (ERN)-Lung

ELF works with the Patient Advisory Group (ePAG) of the ERN-LUNG, a network which aims to provide cross border care to patients with rare diseases. The UK withdrawal from the EU will have the following implications for all ERNs, including ERN-LUNG:

  • UK healthcare providers are no longer able to participate in the ERNs as members and they do not have access to the Clinical Patent Management System (CPMS) and other ERN IT tools and databases.
  • Personal data of patients enrolled by a UK healthcare provider can no longer be kept in the CPMS.

However, it is important to outline that:

  • Patients from the UK are still able to be part of the ERN-LUNG ePAG.
  • ERN-LUNG has always and will continue to collaborate with European colleagues and patients without limiting this to EU member states.

For more information about the impact of ERNs please check these frequently asked questions:

General information on the UK-EU trade and cooperation agreement in relation to healthcare

Reciprocal healthcare for UK/EU citizens

  • UK travellers to the EU, and EU travellers in the UK, will be able to get medically necessary treatment as they do now if they fall ill while abroad (EHIC or equivalent).
  • Frontier workers (people who commute across borders to work) and their family members will also be covered for cross-border treatment.
  • People needing pre-planned treatment such as dialysis or chemotherapy while on either side of the UK/EU border will be able to arrange in advance to have it paid for by their own country, without paying upfront themselves.

Medical research

  • The UK will be able to take part in the EU’s scientific research and innovation programme, Horizon Europe, to collaborate on researching and developing cutting-edge treatments.
  • UK and EU agree to facilitate movement of researchers with as few barriers as possible now that freedom of movement has ended.

Public health/health security

  • UK and EU will collaborate/co-operate in warning each other and tackling health threats, though the UK will not normally have access to EU databases and will not retain membership of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and control (ECDC) nor the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
  • The UK can request access to the EU’s Early Warning System (EWRS) on an ad hoc basis to tackle a specific threat.
  • At present there is no arrangement for the UK to take part in the EU’s massively scaled up new public health programme EU4health.

Further information

For more information, we recommend the following links on the post Brexit situation: