Will Brexit Make or Break the NHS?

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On Thursday, June, 23, 2016, a Referendum took place to decide whether the UK would leave or remain in the European Union.


One of the key points from the Leave Campaign was that an extra £350 million per week would be available to the NHS if Britain was no longer part of the EU. However, the negative impact of an NHS outside the EU did not receive as much coverage and the question of whether Brexit will Make or Break the NHS is now up for debate?

The Referendum Result

The “Leave” campaign won 51.9% to 48.1%. This result not only shocked fellow EU countries but the whole world. Britain had made history; they decided it was time to leave the EU.

Since the vote, there have been many questions asked with one question particularly standing out. Will Brexit have a positive or negative impact on Britain and the rest of the world?
One topic stood out during the lead up to the referendum was the effect on leaving would have on the National Health Service (NHS), the healthcare system for the UK. There were a number of questions and potential worries raised:

    • Would Brexit provide new opportunities for the NHS?

    • Or would leaving the EU damage or break the NHS?

These questions are still being asked and, right now, there is uncertainty as to what the outcome will be:

“NHS would be put under threat by Brexit” – Jeremy Hunt, Health Secretary
(The Guardian, March 26, 2016)

In this blog the team at Cora investigated Brexit and the NHS topic and found some interesting findings on the subject:

1. Helen McKenna outlines the five biggest issues that could have major implications for health and social care after the recent Brexit vote.

The issues she focuses on include;

    • Staffing

    • Access of treatment in Britain and abroad

    • Regulation

    • Cross-border cooperation

    • Funding & Finance.

Read more here >>

2. Elizabeth Zanon, Head of NHS in the European office, reflects on the pre-Brexit and UK health policies and outlines what may lie ahead for the NHS in a fascinating article entitles “The UK Voted to Leave the EU: What Now for the NHS?

A few areas Ms. Zanon discusses include:

    • The current EU labour laws

    • EU competition and procurement rules

    • EU standards for quality and safety

    • Receiving healthcare abroad

    • EU health research funds

With so much unpredictability right now, Ms. Zahon believes that it’s impossible to know what impact Brexit will have on the NHS just yet. Read more here >>

3. What will Brexit mean to you and your treatment in the NHS?

It is going to take some time before the UK will know the future state of the NHS, states Douglas Miller of Coffin Mew Solicitors, as he reviews the recent Brexit referendum.

Miller, who specializes in clinical negligence, states that the Brexit result could mean more money going back into healthcare, all depending on what savings will be made from exiting the EU.

Read more here >>

4. Our fourth and final article relating to Brexit comes from a piece entitled “Britain’s NHS can’t survive staying in the European Union”. This was written by UKIP’s Health spokesperson, Louise Bours, MEP and was published in The Telegraph on March 21st. In this particular article Ms. Bours argues that the NHS will not survive by staying in the EU. As the article was written before the referendum, Ms. Bours states that by leaving the EU, it gives the UK the chance to keep the NHS alive but also asks an important question, “Do you prefer the EU or the NHS?” Read more here >>


Will Brexit Make or Break the NHS? The road ahead seems very unclear and there’s no denying that there is huge uncertainty in Britain and across Europe. There are many questions Britain’s political leaders need to answer, sooner rather than later, primarily with a focus on what is best for the British people.

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