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NHS Could Face Bill of Over Half a Billion Pounds From Brexit

A report from a healthcare thinktank has calculated that the National Health Service (NHS) could face a bill of almost half a billion pounds if all the retired British citizens Currently living in other Europe countries are forced to return to the UK to receive free healthcare.

The report from Nuffield Trust has revealed that the figure could even be higher if the NHS has to pay to replace staff, if EU migration is reduced, or if it faces a rise in the cost of medicines. The report says there could be a shortfall of 70,000 paid carers in the next eight years if the migration of unskilled workers to Britain from Europe is no longer permitted.

Here are listed the main findings on the impact of Brexit on the NHS and social care from the Nuffield Trust.

  • Currently, there are about 190,000 British pensioners living in other European countries, who receive healthcare through a EU agreement S1 scheme. If they all came back to the UK to receive care, the NHS would be looking at an enormous bill of around £1bn, twice the amount that the UK government currently reimburses to other EU states for their care.
  • If those pensioners returned in the case of the benefit being withdrawn, the NHS would need around 900 extra beds, which is enough to fill two new hospitals.
  • If the UK leaves the EU’s medicine licensing system, there is also a chance that the NHS will no longer have access to as wide a supply of medicines at as good a price. The extra cost could exceed £100 million.
  • Department of Health have predicted that there could be a shortage of 20,000 nurses by 2025/26 if migration from the EU is cut off.

The chair of British Medical Council, Dr Mark Porter said that the figures are a reminder that with the NHS at breaking point, politicians must keep the health service and its patients at the front during Brexit negotiations and decrease the effect that leaving the EU will have on health and social care across the UK.

He further added that the that NHS resources could fall, but also current chronic staff shortages could be worsened as half of the 10,000 EEA doctors working in the NHS were considering leaving the UK.

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