Atlantis Medical News

What Will Brexit Mean For NHS Employees and Patients?


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UPDATED

11 JUL 2017


The past few months have been very challenging for Theresa May and the Conservative Party but there is absolutely no let up when it comes to pressurised situations. The Government sits in a very precarious position, propped up by the DUP, and for the moment, all focus must fall on the terms and conditions associated with Brexit. The United Kingdom is set to depart from the European Union on the 31st of March in 2019 but the terms and conditions of the exit are still to be agreed upon. There also needs to be a lot of work undertaken on what will happen to EU residents living in the UK and what rights of movement UK residents will have in the EU after Brexit eventually occurs.


There are many different components of Brexit that will have a long lasting impact and the NHS is likely to be strongly impacted on. Even before you get to the rights of workers or who will be eligible to work for the NHS after Brexit, the basic economic impact of Brexit is sure to hit the NHS. A simple look at tax revenues highlights that the UK currently exports around 50% of everything we sell abroad to fellow EU countries. If this falls and cannot be replaced with sales to other countries, the UK will bring in less tax income and this means that there is less money to go around. When you take on board the fact that the NHS is already struggling financially, a smaller pot of Government money to go around so many key resources can only be seen as challenging news for the NHS.


There was optimism that Brexit could benefit NHS
When Theresa May called the snap General Election, there was at least some optimism that the outcome would see the Government strengthened prior to Brexit negotiations. No matter what your thoughts on Brexit, or what political party you favour, the entire country needs as strong a deal on Brexit as possible, so there were many people who didn’t necessarily approve of the Government at least saying there could be a positive impact for Brexit negotiations. Of course, the Hung Parliament has weakened the Government and Theresa May’s negotiating position, and there is no doubt that this could have a long term negative impact on the NHS.


It would be correct to say that most NHS leaders have big concerns about Brexit. There were concerns the way the NHS has used by the Vote Leave campaign in the run up to the European Referendum, and it is obvious that the promise of £350m per week to the NHS was a big factor. When a promise is plastered on the side of the bus in huge letters, it is driven home and even if you believed that this was an exaggeration, there was still a hope that the NHS would be better off by a Leave vote. Given the importance of the NHS in the UK, it is clear that this would be the sort of promise that would sway people or get people campaigning for this outcome.


At this point in time, there are concerns amongst many NHS leaders that Brexit will leave the NHS even weaker, not stronger. At Atlantis Medical, we understand the importance of the NHS in the UK and of the hard work and effort undertaken by employees, and this is the key factor that keeps the organisation running. It can only be hoped that this hard work and effort is supported by the people who have a chance to impact on their situation.

 

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