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24.06.16

Strong agreement with EU ‘vital’ to offset impact on NHS, says Dalton

The UK will need a strong agreement with the EU to offset the potential impact on the NHS following the decision to leave the union, the chief executive of NHS Confederation has said.

David Cameron has announced his resignation as prime minister this morning after the UK voted 52% in favour of leaving the EU in yesterday’s referendum, as reported in NHE’s sister title Public Sector Executive.

Stephen Dalton, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “The NHS has broadly benefitted from being in the EU and leaving it will undoubtedly have implications which are yet to be clearly understood. The priorities for those who lead and are on the frontline of delivering NHS funded services are the sustainability and quality of patient care.

“It is impossible to predict the full impact at this stage, but clearly it is vital that our government seeks a strong, nuanced agreement with the European Union that recognises how interwoven NHS and EU policies have become.”

He added that he understood that NHS and social care organisations would be “anxious” about the impact of the decision on recruitment, reforms, economic stability and legislation.

He said the NHS Confederation, through its European Office, would be working in Brussels and the UK to ensure the needs of the NHS and its patients were understood.

Before the referendum Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, said that the NHS could suffer if leaving the EU sent the UK into a “tailspin”.

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP, chair of the Health Committee, switched sides from the Leave to Remain campaign, again citing concerns about the economic impact on the NHS.

The announcement of the result this morning sent global financial markets into turmoil, with sterling falling by more than 10% to $1.33 against the dollar and £120bn being wiped off the FTSE 100.

Jane Payling, head of health and integration at the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), wrote for NHE this week about the potential consequences of leaving the EU for the NHS.

(Image c. NHS Confederation)

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