Brexit may put NHS funding at risk

Health and care services could suffer if Britain votes to leave the EU, warns NHS Confederation
Health care costs

The future of the health service is at risk if Britain votes to leave the European Union (EU), the NHS Confederation has warned.

The confederation, which represents hospitals, community and mental health providers, ambulance trusts and independent sector organisations, has raised concerns about the financial effect of Brexit on the UK’s health and care services.

NHS Confederation chair Stephen Dorrell said securing more NHS funding as the economy grows is 'a lifeline' needed by health and care services across the country.

Working in silos

'Health and care services are a vital part of a growing, wealth-creating economy,' said Mr Dorrell, who suggested leaving the EU could hamper efforts to ensure sustainable funding for the health service.

'We need to invest in building a sustainable society, where we help people stay well, focusing on health and care in a place, rather than single institutions working in silos.'

Mr Dorrell argued that, with 'significant financial pressures in health, and 65% of trusts in deficit’, the NHS cannot afford a period of economic instability.

Reduction in income

He said overwhelming evidence showed that leaving the EU would mean a reduction in national income.

'We need a strong economy to guarantee the growth in funding that the health and care services require, and evidence suggests leaving the EU would undermine this.'

No mercy

Assistant general secretary for health sector union Unite Gail Cartmail, said: 'Brexit ministers are using the falsehood that the NHS will be better off with a ‘leave’ vote for their narrow political ends.

'The health service can expect no mercy with a ‘leave’ vote.'

Queen Margaret University health and social sciences faculty professor James Buchan suggested Brexit could deepen the NHS' nurse staffing shortages.

Further information:

Should we stay or should we go? Referendum reflections for nurses

Brexit would only deepen NHS staffing crisis