Brexit: SNP MP calls on Health Secretary to detail post-Brexit medical radioisotope sources

– The UK Government must urgently provide clarity on future arrangements –

An SNP MP has called on the Health Secretary to urgently provide information on the UK Government’s arrangements for sourcing medical radioisotopes post-Brexit.

During Tuesday’s Health and Social Care questions, Carol Monaghan, MP for Glasgow North West, challenged Matt Hancock MP on future arrangements for radioisotopes.

The Secretary of State responded by detailing that radioisotopes will be transported into the UK by air. However, he did not detail how the UK will source and secure them.

Currently the UK is able to acquire radioisotopes, vital for medical diagnosis and treatment, through its membership of Euratom, the European nuclear regulator. However, the UK Government have committed to leaving Euratom as part of Brexit.

Unlike some medicines, radioisotopes cannot be stockpiled. Carol Monaghan MP has now written to the Secretary of State to seek information on the UK Government’s plans and any arrangements that they have in place to acquire these post-Brexit.

Monaghan has previously raised concerns surrounding the UK’s exit from Euratom and problems which may then arise. The UK Government have repeatedly avoided providing any clarification on arrangements.

Commenting, Carol Monaghan MP said:

“The UK Government continues to avoid giving clear answers on concerns I have regularly raised with regard to the UK’s exit from Euratom and the sourcing of radioisotopes post-Brexit.

“When I have asked about the arrangements for importing radioactive sources for medical scans and cancer treatments, I have been accused of scaremongering.  However there are only a few reactors worldwide that actually produce these materials and because of the materials’ short half-lives they have to get from production to point of use very quickly.  As such, unlike some medicines, they cannot be stored.

“It is absolutely vital that sufficient plans are in place for acquiring radioisotopes post-Brexit. The UK Government must urgently provide clarity on future arrangements.

“If we do not have a secure supply, the 500,000 diagnostic scans and 10,000 cancer treatments that take place every year will not be put at risk. There is nothing in the draft withdrawal agreement about future supplies or arrangements.

“The Secretary of State for Health again avoided providing any details when I challenged him on Tuesday. As such, I have now written to him on this critical issue.”N