By Kane Shaw, Press Officer to the National Health Action Party
Today the Daily Mirror has reported that Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – located in the newly appointed Brexit Secretary’s constituency – has released an internal document claiming Brexit has the capacity to negatively affect the entirety of the Trust’s services.
The document contests Theresa May’s claim that the NHS can expect a future funding windfall, paid for in part, by a Brexit dividend.
It also claims Brexit will undermine the capacity of the Trust to procure future access, and maintain current access, to vital resources based in the EU. The paper cites the example of key IT servers being located in the EU and the risk this poses to an increase in IT glitches.
Another key issue for the Trust - and one which concerns NHS Trusts across the country - is the impact Brexit will have on staff retention, recruitment and morale.
The Trust is concerned EU nationals will be forced to go through a cumbersome visa application process, distracting them from their work due to stress, and increasing the likelihood of a brain drain.
The paper also cites the likelihood that UK staff with EU spouses may be more likely to leave the Trust should an unsatisfactory immigration system be put in place.
The news comes at the same time as a ground-breaking study by UCL, Queen Mary University London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine canvassed NHS doctors on their political opinions and views on Brexit.
The study revealed that on scale from 0 to 10, 0 being the worst outcome and 10 being the best, that nearly 83% of respondents, irrespective of grade, income or speciality, gave Brexit an average score of two.
It is clear that the NHS was one of the central planks that motivated a part of the population to vote Leave. But it is increasingly becoming clear that the economic forecasts for Brexit are dire. The NHS is already struggling, with many commentators noting that even the Government’s much vaunted increase in NHS funding won’t be able to paper over the cracks caused by austerity.
The NHS could well be one of the first causalities in a post-Brexit Britain mired by an economic downturn.
The government is increasingly beholden to fanatics from its right flank and the eventuality of a no-deal Brexit is looking ever more likely.
It is now time for a second referendum to take place. If concern for the NHS was enough to motivate people to vote Leave, then a second referendum - this time undergirded by the facts of what will really happen to the NHS - ought to be enough to swing the pendulum towards Remain.
Then we can have a debate on the real causes of the NHS’s current woes.