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31.07.18

Four-fifths of doctors negative about Brexit as BMA throws weight behind ‘final say’ deal

Britain’s departure from the EU would have a detrimental impact on the NHS, four out of five doctors have said.

In a survey published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, nearly four-fifths (79.4%) of the 1,172 doctors who responded voted Remain in the referendum in 2016, whilst four out of five doctors assessed the impact of Brexit on the NHS as negative.

Nearly all of the doctors surveyed agreed that NHS staff who are EU nationals should be able to remain in the UK.

The report said: “With the challenges imposed on UK health services from leaving the EU now widely recognised in the medical community, the consensus among UK doctors on the negative impact of Brexit is perhaps not surprising.

“Doctors’ support for EU staff is mirrored in the general population, with a recent survey finding that nearly nine out of 10 people believe that NHS staff from the EU should be allowed to continue working in the UK post-Brexit.”

The survey comes after weeks of damning revelations regarding Brexit’s impact on leaving the EU: last week new health secretary Matt Hancock said the government is going to “stockpile” drugs in case of a no-deal Brexit. In May, a report released by MPs argued that leaving the EU with no EMA deal would risk the UK being left as a “second-tier state” for drugs.

NHS doctors’ opinions Brexit have become apparent alongside the British Medical Association’s (BMA) announcement of joining a campaign calling for the public to have a final say on the Brexit deal, warning that leaving the EU threatens to undermine healthcare across Europe.

The BMA, one of the largest medical bodies which represents 160,000 medical professionals and students, threw its weight behind the Independent’s “Final Say” campaign, which has already collected 380,000 signatures from voters in favour of a referendum to have their viewpoint on the final Brexit deal.

The BMA’s support for the campaign comes after members voted overwhelmingly in favour of opposing Brexit and in support of a second referendum, at this year’s annual representative meeting.

BMA treasurer Andrew Dearden said that in light of the many concerns thrown up by the UK’s Brexit negotiations with the EU, giving the public a final say was “absolutely imperative.”

Dearden said: “We know that doctors are worried that Brexit could seriously undermine the provision of healthcare in the UK and Europe.

“The challenges posed by Brexit are considerable and though there has been some progress, there is too much uncertainty around what the implications will be for doctors and the health service.

“Though concerns were raised prior to the Brexit vote, no one could have imagined the extent of the complications such a result would bring. However, in light of what we know now, it is imperative that the public has a say in any proposed Brexit deal.”

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Image credit: ShutterWorx, iStock images

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