'No guarantee' £350m a week of EU cash will be spent on NHS, says Nigel Farage
The £350m the Leave campaign claims is being spent every week on the European Union is unlikely to all be spent on the NHS, leader of UKIP Nigel Farage has admitted.
The official Vote Leave campaign had claimed that the money would all be spent on the NHS, and even emblazoned the pledge on its tour bus.
But Mr Farage - who is leader of the unofficial Leave.EU campaign - told GMTV that he felt the pledge was a ’mistake’.
When asked if he could pledge the money to the NHS, he said: ’No I can’t [guarantee it], and I would never have made that claim. That was one of the mistakes that I think the Leave campaign made.’
Dr Sarah Wollaston, a former GP and chair of the Commons health committee, said she would be questioning the leave campaign about the pledge. She tweeted:
Dr Wollaston had previously switched to remain, having supported the campaign to leave the EU.
The NHS Confederation has warned that the exit from the EU will have implications for the NHS.
It said: ’The NHS has broadly benefitted from being in the EU and leaving it will undoubtedly have implications which are yet to be clearly understood. The priorities for those who lead and are on the frontline of delivering NHS funded services are the sustainability and quality of patient care.
’It is impossible to predict the full impact at this stage, but clearly it is vital that our government seeks a strong, nuanced agreement with the European Union that recognises how interwoven NHS and EU policies have become.
’The NHS’s top priority will be to adapt to the new circumstances and continue its high quality services for patients. The NHS Confederation, through our European Office will be working in Brussels and the UK to ensure the needs of the NHS and its patients are understood throughout this process.’
The UK voted to leave the EU by a margin of 52% to 48%. Following the vote, Prime Minister David Cameron announced he will step down from October.
A spokesperson for the RCGP told Pulse that they would not be issuing an official statement on the impact of the referendum on UK general practice, but chair Dr Maureen Baker took to Twitter to say they would ‘keep fighting’ to protect general practice.
Dr Baker said: ‘What next for GPs across the UK? Expect most of us will go to work, care for our patients & keep fighting to protect general practice’
In a tweet, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said: ’As remainer am in agreement with Dan Hannan just now: we voted to leave, now need calm, thoughtful leadership 2 bring &keep country together.’