New study predicts devastating Brexit effect on NHS

Published:  3 May at 6 PM
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A new study involving 68 NHS hospitals and care institutions warns the uncertainty over Brexit is already having a serious effect on NHS services, and could further wreck Britain’s healthcare strategy due to a severe lack of qualified staff.

Almost half of the healthcare institutions which took part in the survey have already changed their recruitment strategies due to Brexit, with over a third saying the continuing uncertainty makes it impossible to project the final cost to the NHS of the leave vote. The NHS employs a total of 62,000 EU member state nationals, an overall workforce percentage of over five per cent, with some hospitals’ percentage of foreign healthcare professionals standing at 20 per cent or more.

The Cavendish Coalition study also demonstrated that, in spite of May’s agreement to safeguard expat EU citizens’ rights in the UK post Brexit, the majority of hospital bosses found their foreign staff were far from convinced the PM’s words should be taken as reassuring. Only 16 per cent out of the 68 healthcare providers surveyed said their EU staff had welcomed the agreement. The general opinion is that May’s deal was non-binding and the continuing uncertainty surrounding the rest of the negotiations mean it’s far too soon to make any promises, let alone guarantees.

One of the key issues for voters was the Leave campaign’s promise that huge amounts of cash would be ploughed into the NHS once Brexit was finalised. Vote Leave also suggested free movement of incomers from the EU was causing an unsustainable demand for NHS services. Whilst May has promised a substantial cash injection into the struggling behemoth, she can’t change the fact that crucial staff shortages will cause a crisis which can’t be solved by throwing money at it. At the present time, NHS vacancies total 100,000, with far fewer domestically-trained professionals than are needed to fill the jobs and the shortfall predicted to get even worse over the next year.
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