The country’s most famous children’s hospital has warned that a loss in EU funding following Brexit could cost the lives of vulnerable children.
Great Ormond Street Hospital has issued a plea to the government to reach a deal with Europe to protect research and enable the hospital to “retain its brightest minds”.
It says that there is, otherwise, a “serious risk” it could lose EU staff, funding and long-standing partnerships.
The central London hospital says it currently has 44 EU-funded projects active, with six for new treatments at the clinical trial stage.
Fourteen research projects are being reviewed due to “uncertainty about current grants or applications in the future”.
The central London hospital works with research partner UCL Institute of Child Health in what is the country’s only academic biomedical research centre specialising in paediatrics.
Twenty-four per cent of research staff at Great Ormond and ICH come from the EU, along with 25% of medical staff and 16% of nurses.
Since 2010, the EU has contributed £25m in funding for their research into treatment and cures – around 10% of the centre’s total funding.
But Great Ormond Street said that, with 75% of rare diseases affecting children and 30% of children with a rare disease die before their fifth birthday, the loss of funding could leave important research “critically delayed”.
Dr Peter Steer, GOSH’s chief executive, said: “We are deeply concerned about what leaving Europe means for our many EU staff and our research programmes.
“We call on the Government to prioritise the best European deal to protect these essential staff and research programmes, now and in the future.
“For the vulnerable, very ill children we care for, every day counts.
“The UK is known for the strength of its biomedical research.
“At GOSH our research base enables us to develop transformative treatments and cures and save lives.
“We do not want to see this eroded by uncertainty about the status of key staff and funding.”
It is not only research and staffing at stake – halting the freedom of movement of EU patients taking part in research could affect the study of rare diseases and specialist areas such as gene therapy, which rely on large patient bases.
The hospital also said that the costs of some drugs may rise.