Brexit and the NHS
The British Medical Association, the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives all back a People’s Vote.
We all remember the Brexit promise of an extra £350m a week for the NHS. It was a lie.
The UK receives an abatement from the EU. This means the amount the UK sends to the EU is actually under £250m a week. This is before other EU payments to the UK are taken into account, such as those to farmers, poorer areas and businesses. Read a detailed explanation.
Boris Johnson consistently used the £350m figure in the referendum. It wasn't true.
In the meantime, the likely effect of Brexit on the NHS has become very clear, and it's very worrying.
A YouGov survey of UK doctors and nurses in October 2018 found that Brexit could cause staff shortages, longer waiting times and funding cuts. Of those surveyed,
64% thought the NHS will get worse after Brexit.
75% were opposed to leaving the EU.
83% believed the promise that Brexit will bring an extra £350m a week for the NHS was a deliberate lie.
88% said the NHS needs nurses and doctors from overseas to keep operating.
90% said it would take a long time to train UK nationals to replace them.
This is what local NHS staff say:
Siobhan Tugwell, Yate:
“As an NHS worker I’m incredibly worried about the negative impact Brexit will have not only on the NHS but the country as a whole. Since the referendum it’s become clear that the leave campaign was based on lies and deliberately misled the public. There will be no £350 million a week for the NHS. Instead the reality is more staffing gaps, concerns about medicine provision and likely more cuts.
“I don’t think this is what people voted for, and a people’s vote is the only way to give the public a say on the reality of Brexit now we know so much more."
Elaine Lunts, Thornbury:
"As a doctor in the NHS I'm really concerned with how the NHS will cope if we leave Europe. People didn't know the true facts when they voted in the referendum. We didn't know that Brexit could cost us over £50 billion just to settle the divorce bill. We didn't know vast numbers of staff were going to leave the NHS to return to other parts of Europe. And we were told there would be an additional £350 million a week for the NHS if we left, which even Nigel Farage has admitted was a mistake.
"The truth is we will be worse off and, more importantly, so will our children. Let the people decide the people's future now we know what we are voting for."
Freedom of Information requests are also showing that NHS trusts are worried that Brexit could lead to staff shortages, reduced access to medicines and medical equipment, barriers to clinical trials, and a potential influx of elderly Britons who are currently resident in the EU.
The trusts fear they may have to reduce the number of clinical trials they conduct, and are unclear if collaborations with European countries could continue. And they have also received no guidance about how the UK’s exit from the European atomic energy community might impact radio pharmaceuticals. These are used to diagnose conditions and cannot be stockpiled.
The effect of Brexit on the NHS is one of the many reasons local people have joined the call for a People's Vote.
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