Brexit could leave UK healthcare in critical condition, MEP warns

   1 November 2019

The prognosis for the NHS is bleak unless Brexit is stopped, an MEP has cautioned. 

Health services in the UK could face critical losses of staff and expertise in a post-Brexit world according to a ‘health check’ released today by Antony Hook, Liberal Democrat MEP for South East England.  

The report, based on independent sources, highlights:

  1. There is potential for a staffing crisis, suggested by the loss of 4067 EU nurses and midwives between October 2016 and September 2017.
  2. The Nuffield Trust estimate that drug costs to the NHS will increase by £2.3 billion per year. This could pay for 69,000 nurses or 2,600 MRI scanners.
  3. There is a risk of losing free healthcare in some EU countries for the 27 million British citizens with European Health Insurance Cards.
  4. There is a threat of losing funding for scientific and medical research: between 2007 and 2013 the UK received €8.8 billion for research, development and innovation activities while contributing only €5.4 billion.

Antony Hook said: ‘This check-up demonstrates the serious harm that Brexit could do to our health.

‘The results aren’t good.

‘Any form of Brexit may end up draining our NHS of money, staff, medicine and knowledge.

‘British nationals with European health cards could lose the right to free treatment when travelling in the EU.

‘Ultimately, the NHS risks being dissected and parts of it sold off to private companies.

‘Unlike the Conservatives and Labour, the Liberal Democrats have a straightforward, deliverable plan to protect the NHS from injury and restore its vitality.

‘By stopping Brexit, we will secure the future of health workers from other EU nations and safeguard access to life-saving to medicines. We will also give a shot in the arm to our economy, generating much-needed funding for health services.’