Brexit is set to cause “significant harm” to the NHS and a no-deal scenario would be the worst outcome, new research suggests.
Researchers at the University of Sheffield were involved in a study which raises fears over the negative effects on the supply of medicines, staff recruitment and finances.
The study, published in The Lancet, said there is “little evidence” that the UK is prepared after a 10-year plan for the NHS which ran to 136 pages contained just two mentions of Brexit.
Professor Tamara Hervey, from the University of Sheffield’s School of Law, said “It’s critical to be clear about the practical effects of disentangling over 40 years of legal integration. This is not something that can be done hastily without potentially jeopardising people’s health.
“Future legal relations will have quite different effects on the NHS. These should be taken into account when the UK government, advised by Parliament, makes its post-Brexit choices.”
The report warns of limited access to funds for NHS projects from the European Investment Bank, and of problems recruiting health workers after a no-deal Brexit.
Co-author Prof Martin McKee, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “We have set out the problems in detail, based on the best available evidence.
“If others disagree, then they owe it to the British people to say why. It just isn’t good enough to keep saying “something will work out” without any details of exactly how.”