What are the implications of the referendum result for the NHS? There are lots of things we don’t know yet. Here are some that we do:
It won’t be is £350 million a week more for the NHS. Even Nigel Farage said, soon after the result was announced, that it was ‘a mistake’ to make that claim. The NHS faces intense financial pressures and the best way to address those pressures is through a growing economy and increased tax revenues. The financial uncertainties introduced by the leave vote look very unlikely to generate that growth, in the short-term at least.
The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – a trade deal between the US and the EU that had been feared by some as exposing the NHS to marketization, is likely to recede from view, as Britain ‘takes back’ its ‘sovereignty’. However, people opposed to NHS marketization would be naïve to see this as an EU-led agenda, when so much of the opening up of the NHS to market competition has come from the policies of recent Westminster governments.
Health services research will suffer as universities find sources of European funding closed off, as well as reduced freedom of movement for academics and students sharing knowledge across the continent.