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Five reasons staying in the EU is good for the NHS

by Sam Ashworth-Hayes | 04.11.2019

Boris Johnson says voting Tory is good for the NHS. No it’s not. It’s much better to stop the Conservatives winning a majority in the election and hold a referendum on whether to stay in the EU. 

Here are five ways staying in the EU will be better for the NHS than the Prime Minister’s rotten Brexit deal.

Trump’s terrible deal

Brexit will mean selling out our NHS to get a miserable trade deal with the US. Drug pricing has been discussed in six initial meetings between US and UK trade officials, according to an investigation by Channel 4 Dispatches. This could substantially increase the cost of medicines for the NHS.

NHS staff shortages 

More than 65,000 NHS workers come from another EU country. That includes 11,000 doctors (10% of the total), 20,000 nurses, and 9,000 technical staff. On top of that, there are 100,000 social care staff. 

But Brexit is driving away EU health staff: 60% of EU doctors are thinking of leaving the UK, while the number of nurses registering dropped 92% after the referendum. 

Our underfunded health service already has a big shortfall of staff. The best way of filling the gap is to stop Brexit. That’s because health staff can come here without applying for work permits, and take care of our sick and elderly.

More money for the NHS

If we cancel Brexit, our economy will be £70 billion bigger each year in the medium run, according to the National Institute of Economic and Social Research. A bigger economy means we can afford more money for the NHS. Remember Johnson’s infamous promise of £350 million a week? That’s £18 billion a year. It could be paid for four times over.

Quicker access to new medicines

If we stay in the EU, we’ll be part of the European Medicines Agency (EMA), which authorises new drugs. They only have to go through one authorisation process to be available across all 28 countries. Drug manufacturers find that an extremely effective system rather than seeking approval in every country separately. It’s also good for UK patients because new drugs comes on the market rapidly. That won’t be so if Brexit goes ahead.

Brits get free healthcare across Europe

145,000 British pensioners get free healthcare in other EU countries. They get treatment in the country they live in, and the NHS picks up the tab. If we leave the EU, some may be forced to come back to the UK to get treated. That will be bad for them; and increase the strain on the NHS.

What’s more, Brits who travel to other EU countries can get free healthcare via European Health Insurance Cards. 27 million of us have these cards. If we quit, travel will be more expensive. Some people – for example kidney dialysis patients – may find it prohibitive to travel at all.

So vote to stop Johnson winning a majority on December 12 – and let the people have a final say on whether to quit the EU.

Update 05/11/2019: We have removed a reference to a US trade deal potentially costing the NHS £27 billion as the calculation behind this figure is unclear.

Edited by Hugo Dixon

2 Responses to “Five reasons staying in the EU is good for the NHS”

  • Excellent arguments but it’s preaching to the already converted. It’s the poor sheep that still believe Johnson you’ll need to get through to.

  • There is simply no benefit in leaving the EU at all.
    Every Leave claim has been disproven and demolished.
    But unfortunately, it’s like dealing with a Creationist – no amount of evidence to the contrary will convince them.