NHS reforms

07.11.17

No deal Brexit would harm NHS, Nuffield Trust warns

A no deal Brexit would be seriously damaging to the NHS, the Nuffield Trust has warned today.

In a new briefing, ‘How will our future relationship with the EU shape the NHS?’ the think tank outlines the potential consequences of a ‘no deal’ scenario.

The rights of EU staff working in the NHS may not be guaranteed, vital cross border treatment in Northern Ireland could be jeopardised, and there could be no safeguard access to lifesaving drugs and equipment.

Delays or charges at the border could drive up prices of supplies that the NHS relies upon, or risk losing those with short shelf lives altogether.

The briefing argues that a deal is essential to ensure that residents in Northern Ireland are not obstructed from receiving care in the Irish Republic due to the introduction of a hard border, and vice versa.

“Tens of thousands of EU doctors and nurses” must have their rights guaranteed to minimise the chance of worsening the NHS’s staff shortage by an exodus of staff the briefing argues.

Author of the report, Mark Dayan, said: “Many different parts of EU law and EU institutions play an important role in enabling healthcare to be delivered to the standards we see today.

“Suddenly ending them with no replacement would do serious damage to an already strained NHS.

“For many things – from medicine regulation to the rights of NHS staff – there is a way through if deals can be secured.

“But if negotiations collapse entirely or if political red lines get in the way of future co-operation, patient care will suffer.”

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