Pauline Latham MP on the impact of leaving Euratom and the EMA

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently wrote to Pauline Latham, MP for Mid-Derbyshire, to ask about the impact of leaving Euratom and the EMA on lymphoma patients (*).

My first question was:

I understand that your government intends to withdraw from Euratom as part of our exit from the European Union. Could you advise me what the impact of this decision will be on the availability of medical radioisotopes used in the treatment of my condition, for example, during a PET/CT scan.

The substantive response to this question came in the 5th paragraph of her letter to me.

I do not believe that leaving Euratom will have any adverse effect on the supply of medical radio-isotopes. Contrary to what has been in some reports, medical radio-isotopes are not classed as special fissile material and are not subject to nuclear safeguards. Therefore, the UK’s ability to import medical isotopes from Europe and the rest of the world will not be affected.

This is a clear response – albeit one that is at odds with independent fact checkers fullfact.org, who state that this belief

[…] isn’t certain, and will depend on what future arrangements are negotiated. The UK may find it harder to guarantee a supply after leaving.

That my MP is happy to be held accountable for any interruption in supply of medical radioisotopes caused by an exit from Euratom and the EU is therefore commendable.

My second question was:

Furthermore, I also understand that the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has decided to relocate from London and that as part of our exit from the European Union, alternative arrangements to approve medicines will need to be made. Could you reassure me that plans have been enacted to ensure that approvals will not be disrupted after our exit, and that there will be no additional waiting time for new treatments to be approved compared to citizens of the other 27 European Union countries?

Her response to this concern was rather less clear-cut.

The UK is fully committed to continuing the close working relationship with our European partners, and as part of the negotiations the Government will discuss with the EU and Member States how best to continue cooperation in the field of medicines regulation (including with the European Medicines Agency).

 

Our aim is to ensure that patients in the UK and across the EU continue to be able to access the best and most innovative medicines, and be assured that their safety is protected through the strongest regulatory framework and sharing of data.

We’re 13 months away from our EU exit. Hope is not a strategy. There’s no obvious plan here as far as I can work out and her answer worries me a lot. Especially when you hear Leslie Galloway, the chair of the Ethical Medicines Industry Group, talk about the issue. He provides a cogent argument that the consequences of leaving the EU will be that new medicines will be delayed by up to two years. For mantle cell lymphoma patients, such a delay could be the literal difference between life and death.

 

I start my first cycle of chemotherapy on Thursday. Many people currently seem to think that Brexit is purely about what kind of trade deals we can strike. It quite clearly isn’t. We need to remember that, and make sure that our MPs remain accountable for all of their decisions on this matter.

 

 

(*) A copy of my letter is available here and the reply is here.

The beginning of the end and new beginnings

Today has seen me attend my final tutorial for DD307 and press the “submit” button on my SD226 EMA. It really is the beginning of the end now, with just the DD307 exam to go in less than three weeks.

I’m sure that at some point in the future I’ll be able to reflect properly on my Open University journey over the last five years. It’s been a lot of fun and I feel that it’s helped me to improve at work too. When I write sales proposals now I think that they make a lot more sense than they used to, because if nothing else, writing so many essays and assignments makes you think about the way you express yourself on paper!

But the focus for the next three weeks is the exam, so I may not be blogging too much between now and then. I still don’t feel my revision has kicked in properly yet, though I was pleasantly surprised by how much did seem familiar at my tutorial this morning. I’ve decided to take a few days off work to help with my revision efforts, so I hope that should increase my chances.

Tomorrow though, I’ll be spending the day driving to Camarthen and back to see my youngest daughter off onto her university adventure. I’ve all of the audio I recorded at the Warwick revision weekend to keep me company in the eight hours or so I’ll be spending by myself in the car.

I’m not sure that I properly appreciated the chances that university gave me when I was 18. I was the first in my family to go, so I really had no idea what to expect. But, judging by the way her sister has approached university, I’m sure she’s far better prepared than I ever was. Here’s to new beginnings.

Mopping up week

There’s nothing like an OUPS revision weekend to reignite my enthusiasm for psychology and focus my mind on the task in hand – the exam on the afternoon of 13th October. When I got home on Sunday evening, I decided that this week needed to be ‘mopping up week’. My list of tasks was/is as follows:

1. Decide which three of the four blocks from the course I’m going to revise. That task was easy and I’d already come to the conclusion that the block on social selves (2) was going to have to go, as it has four chapters and there was too much (i.e. any at all!) social psychoanalytical stuff in it. So my revision from now is going to be focussed on block 3 – social judgement, block 5 – group processes and block 6 – production of knowledge.

2. Turn into a useful and readable format my handwritten scribbles and markings on the chapters where I hadn’t already done so. There were five of these, two of which I’ve now finished:

Book 1 Chapter 7 – Embodiment

Book 2 Chapter 4 – The fundamental attribution error

… which leaves another three to sort out this week. I’m currently working on  I’ve just finished (8th September) Book 2, Chapter 7 on bystander intervention, which leaves chapters 6 and 8 of the same book to cover. However, these were also covered to some extent by TMA05 and TMA06 respectively. A question on individual differences has never come up on the exam so far, so I may decide not to bother too much more with chapter 8. I’ll see how much time I have and how well the rest of the material starts to sink in.

3. Most important of all, get rid of the SD226 EMA!!! That’s going to be this weekend’s task and I’m not going to watch the Italian F1 Grand Prix until I have finished the bits I got bored with first time around, checked it, tidied it up and submitted it. So please, no-one tell me the result!