The Lancet: All forms of Brexit are bad for the NHS

The Lancet: All forms of Brexit are bad for the NHS

Medical journal the Lancet has published an updated paper on Brexit which uses the available legal and political texts on four Brexit scenarios to assess the likely impact on fifteen specific aspects of the health service.

How will Brexit affect health services in the UK? - An updated evaluation uses the WHO's health system building blocksto assess the likely effects on each aspect of the NHS in the UK. In summary, the paper says:

"All forms of Brexit involve negative consequences for the UK's leadership and governance of health, in both Europe and globally, with questions about the ability of parliament and other stakeholders to scrutinise and oversee government actions."

"However, by far the worst option would be a No-Deal Brexit. The Withdrawal Agreement is likely to have many adverse consequences but will also allow much to remain as it is until December, 2020. The impact of the backstop is likely to be uneven, effectively enabling continuity in some areas (in particular for medical products, vaccines, and technology), but producing a negative impact in most other areas.

"The Political Declaration on the Future Relationship envisages an FTA similar to that between the EU and Canada; although it proposes going beyond that agreement in some areas, these are areas such as transport and energy that do not directly address health-related issues."

Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, commenting on the Lancet’s report on Brexit and the NHS, said:

“The Lancet devastatingly reveals the dangers to the NHS of a no deal Brexit.

“From delays in accessing lifesaving drugs, to the desperate staffing implications that our already understaffed and overstretched NHS faces, this report makes crystal clear the sheer irresponsibility of refusing to rule out no deal. Theresa May’s stance is bewildering when her own Health Secretary talks of prioritising medicine over food, and has forced through legislation that will see ministers overruling GP prescriptions and patients denied the medicine their practitioner judges they need.

“For the sake of patients and the NHS Theresa May must now act in the national interest and say no to no deal.”

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