How the UKs Disentanglement from the EU Impacts the NHS

NHS and the Brexit
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July 4, 2016 By: , No Comments

What Impact will a Brexit Have on the NHS?

Analysts have been hard at work trying to figure out how damaging a Brexit will prove to be for the UK economy. For the time being, the speculative musings of economists are incapable of providing anything other than conjecture. But when it comes to the National Health Service (NHS) there are real concerns now that the UK has voted to break from the EU. The extreme volatility in economic and political circles has been coupled with concerns from the healthcare sector too. Among others, the relationships between doctors and patients, UK/EU R&D initiatives, funding, and research protocols will be affected. It is clear that the structural framework within which the UK healthcare sector operates will be changing, but few are ready for the challenges ahead.


The Money Issue: UK Contributions to the EU

Money matters remain the trump card for Brexiteers. According to pro-Brexit campaigners, the UK spends vast sums of money on healthcare services for the EU. This money transfer to Brussels amounts to some £350 million. With the UK choosing to break from the EU, that money can get redirected back to Britain and its healthcare system. The UK purportedly transfers £8.8 billion to the EU, and although this amounts to less than a percentage of total expenditure, it has been described as a massive expense item.


For the years 2014 and 2015, the UKs total expenditure amounted to £735 billion. But a study by the EIU (Economist Intelligence Unit) found that the UK healthcare sector would soon be collecting £135 less per person after the Brexit is finalized.  Those in the medical fraternity who are opposed to a Brexit include The British Medical Journal and Nature and The Royal College of Physicians.  At present, 62% of medical research in the UK is done in conjunction with outside collaboration. This will likely diminish as the UK goes it alone. For now though, the prospect of invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty will initiate the disentanglement process.


Doctors, Students and the UK Universities

According to a Nature editorial, some 2,000 scientists who were interviewed voted largely in favour of remaining in the European Union. The end result of the polling was 12% preferring a Brexit and 83% preferring to Bremain. The Royal College of Physicians overwhelmingly prefers to remain in the EU, but the real challenge comes from the reduction in European enrollees at UK universities. The latest stats indicate that 125,000 students currently attend British universities. These students qualify for loans courtesy of the British government. That could change however, if they no longer qualify after the Brexit takes effect.


The reduced intake of European students would prove especially financially difficult for UK universities. Besides for funding-related issues, the NHS currently employs 30,000 physicians from other European countries. These medical professionals are free to move between hospitals in the UK, under current conditions. However, with the UK breaking from the EU these physicians and nurses would be subject to visa restrictions.


The costs involved in reconfiguring the healthcare sector for the UK are unfathomable at this juncture. Spread betting companies have seen a surge in betting activity on all manner of financial markets in the UK and the EU. The NHS is a political hot potato that is going to be adversely affected by a Brexit because the UK will be forced to go it alone and provide for its own needs as its financial, housing and automotive industries are crumbling post-Brexit.


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Brett Chatz

About Brett Chatz

Brett Chatz is a graduate of the University of South Africa, and holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree, with Economics and Strategic management as his major subjects. Nowadays Brett contributes from his vast expertise in online trading for


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