Brexit: the implications for health and social care


Almost 18 months ago, the Kings Fund published an article that considered some of the most important implications for health and social care in England in the wake of the UK’s vote to leave the EU. This update looks at the developments that have taken place since the 2016 referendum.

The authors report that Brexit appears to already be having an impact, especially on the recruitment and retention of EU nationals in some parts of the workforce which is contributing to shortages of key staff.

Full report: Brexit: the implications for health and social care

How will our future relationship with the EU shape the NHS?

This briefing from the Nuffield Trust explores five key areas where the deals the UK government reaches with the EU – or lack of them – will impact upon health and social care.


The report argues that an exit deal will be needed to make sure:

  • The rights of tens of thousands of EU doctors and nurses are guaranteed, minimising the chances of an exodus making already concerning staff shortages across the NHS worse;
  • A sudden legal vacuum does not risk supplies of already approved medicines, and human substances like blood plasma;
  • Expat pensioners who access healthcare under EU schemes do not feel forced to return, potentially requiring up to £500 million more in annual spending, and 1000 extra hospital beds;
  • British patients do not face slower access to life saving drugs, and British and European taxpayers do not have to pay more for duplicate regulation in medicines.

Full briefing: How will our future relationship with the EU shape the NHS?

Increasing number of nurses and midwives leaving profession

Data published by the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) shows there continues to be an increase in the number of nurses and midwives leaving its register over the last 12 months.

Overall, the number of nurses and midwives on the register has started to drop for the first time in a decade:

  • There were just under 690,000 nurses and midwives registered to work in the UK in September – over 1,600 less than there were the year before
  • The register showed just over 36,200 EU nurses and midwives – over 2,700 less than a year before
  • Over the last 12 months the number of UK graduates leaving the profession has increased by 9%
  • The number of nurses and midwives from Europe leaving the register has also increased by 67%
  • The number joining the register from the EU has dropped from 10,178 last year to 1,107 this year, a decrease of 89%

The NMC Register can be viewed here

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Brexit health alliance formed to safeguard healthcare interests

A new alliance has been established as the voice of the NHS during Brexit negotiations to safeguard the interests of patients as the UK leaves the EU. | Story via OnMedica


A new alliance of health organisations has been formed to safeguard the interests of patients, and the healthcare and health research, as the UK prepares to begin Brexit negotiations with the EU.

The Brexit Health Alliance brings together NHS, medical research, industry, patients and public health organisations, and it will be co-chaired by Sir Hugh Taylor, the former permanent secretary of the Department of Health, and Niall Dickson, the chief executive of the NHS Confederation.

The Alliance will seek to make sure that issues such as healthcare research, access to technologies and treatment of patients are given the prominence and attention they deserve in the Brexit negotiations, and it will argue that it is in the interests of both Europe and the UK to maintain co-operation in research and in handling public health issues.

The Alliance will urge the UK government to make sure there is a commitment to medical research and providing alternative funding to the loss of funding from the EU, and also to ensure that UK citizens’ right to receive healthcare in EU countries is preserved.

Full story at OnMedica