Political persuasion aside, I think we’d all better get used to the fact that Brexit is going to be bad for our health.
This despite the £20.5billion per annum promised by the Prime Minister for the NHS, although she’s still vague on where the money will come from.
She claims it would be funded by a “Brexit dividend” – which many experts say won’t materialise – and increased taxes.
But leaving the EU will cost us £15bn a year for some time and much of our EU contribution is already spoken for. The maths doesn’t add up.
Bear in mind the NHS will need £25bn per annum more than currently planned by 2022-23, just to make up for the shortfalls since 2010.
And it’s not just money. There are also serious threats to the supply of health workers, access to pharmaceuticals, health technology, and much else besides.
The UK, for instance, has the fewest practising doctors of 15 European countries surveyed. Also, we don’t even know what the deal will be.
An editorial in the British Medical Journal points out that the “Norway” option, by which the UK would remain in the European Economic Area, would reduce the NHS 2018 budget by 9%.
The “Canada” option, involving a future free-trade agreement, would see funding cut by 31%, no deal by 44%, and the Government’s preferred option – if it’s achievable, which most pundits doubt – by 22%.
As several years of austerity is taking its toll, improvements to health are slowing.
A weakened post-Brexit economy is likely to make this worse. The most vulnerable, who rely on foodbanks, will be first to bear the hardship of food shortages.
At least MPs seem to be becoming aware of the threats that Brexit poses, clearly described in a growing number of select committee reports. But when it comes to claims about the impact of Brexit on the NHS, almost no politician is believed.
And given the murky maths I remain to be convinced.
Whatever our individual views, whether we’re Brexiteers or Remainers, we can no longer escape the fact that Brexit in any form is bad for our health.
Another concern is many citizens are heading towards poor health as this latest funding may be unrealisable.
I feel uneasy. Yes, ultimately, politicians decide.
I thought we’d seen the last of the imaginary windfall that leaving Brexit would donate to the NHS. I’m not so sure now.
I get the strong feeling one set of dodgy maths has been replaced by another.
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