The UK legislation for the safety and quality of blood, organs, tissue and cells (including reproductive cells) is based on EU law. The European Union Withdrawal Act 2018 ensures that EU-derived domestic legislation will continue to have effect after the end of the transition period. In 2019, regulations were introduced to ensure that UK legislation in this area could function effectively after the transition period. However, Northern Ireland will remain subject to relevant EU laws as a result of the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol. This article looks at four statutory instruments that would amend the 2019 regulations and enable Northern Ireland to continue to meet EU law.

These regulations make it an offence not to self-isolate if instructed to by certain local authority and health officials. This would apply to those who have tested positive for coronavirus or who have been in close contact with someone else who has tested positive. The regulations came into force on 28 September 2020 and the House of Lords is due to consider them on 14 October 2020.

  • In Focus

    Almost 200 Covid-19 vaccine candidates are currently being developed. However, only a tiny percentage of these will ever be mass-produced and distributed. Concerns around ‘vaccine nationalism’ have grown, as high-income countries pre-order hundreds of millions of vaccine doses. This article looks at this problem and examines what solutions are being put in place to ensure low and middle income countries receive adequate supplies of any successful Covid-19 vaccine.

  • In Focus

    The Covid-19 pandemic has had multiple effects on the lives of young people. These include worry for vulnerable family members and a change in normal routines. School closures have often exacerbated feelings of isolation and loneliness. Young people with existing mental health needs may have experienced a disruptive break in regular care as a result of the pandemic. This article examines the impact the pandemic has had on young people’s mental health, and what the Government’s response is.

  • In Focus

    Many of the restrictions imposed due to coronavirus have been set out in secondary legislation. This article covers two regulations that were made to relax some of the restrictions on what businesses can open, including pubs, restaurants and certain beauty salons. It has been published ahead of a Lords debate on the legislation.

  • In Focus

    Rates of smoking in Britain are among the lowest in Europe. Despite this, smoking is still a major cause of early death. Smoking rates remain tied to economic factors, with research showing as personal income increases, the likelihood of smoking decreases. This article looks at the statistics and research around smoking. It also considers the Government’s ambition of going smoke-free by 2030 in England, and 2034 in Scotland.

  • In Focus

    In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, it has been argued that the Government should change student finance arrangements for some healthcare students. This article focuses on this request, the Government’s response and how student finance currently works.

  • Research Briefing

    The bill would provide the Government with new delegated powers to update or amend the UK’s regulatory framework for medical devices and for human and veterinary medicines. Much of the current UK regulatory framework is based on EU regulations and directives. It would also allow a new information system to be introduced covering data on medical devices and would consolidate and expand enforcement provisions.

  • In Focus

    This article looks at the current candidates for a Covid-19 vaccine, focusing on the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca project, and the Moderna candidate from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The article highlights the new mRNA technology being developed in some projects. It also looks at what the Government is doing to support vaccine development.

  • In Focus

    The coronavirus pandemic has had a proven impact on mental health. The lockdown, imposed from 23 March, limited many activities that research has shown to be beneficial to mental health. These included exercise and contact with friends. This article examines these factors, and looks at which groups in particular are affected. It also covers steps the Government have taken to support mental health through the pandemic.