Brexit could cost the NHS up to £3.4bn, and leave us with up to 50,000 less nurses than we need, according to a new independent report. The Nuffield Trust, a health charity, looked at the possible outcomes of Brexit, both positive and negative.
They said Brexit might offer a chance for £100mn extra each week for the NHS using the money we currently send to Brussels. However, the Office of Budget Responsibility predicts leaving the EU will cost the UK enough in tax revenue to reduce the NHS budget by £2.4bn.
Will the NHS have enough staff to cope after Brexit?
The lack of a guarantee for NHS staff from the EU to remain in the UK may also cause problesm for the NHS. Modelling by the Health Service Journal predicts a shortfall in nurses in 2025/26 from a best case scenario of 20,000 to a worst case scenario of 50,000.
It’s not just nurses that could be in short supply, but social care workers too. The already stretched sector could be short 70,000 workers by 2025/26, according to the London School of Economics, unless the current EU migrants who take up care work are replaced.
Will Brits living in the EU have to return to the UK for healthcare?
Another area where the NHS could see a financial shock may come from overseas expats. Up to £1bn in extra spending may be required if the 190,000 pensioners living in the EU returning to use the NHS if their right free to healthcare in the EU is taken away in the Brexit negotiations.
Leaving the European Union could make it harder for privatisation to happen in the NHS. Currently EU law means all NHS contracts must be competitively tendered allowing private companies to take on public service. By leaving the EU, its possible NHS trusts could avoid this process if they wanted to.
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