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The NHS ‘Brexit dividend’ lie is insulting our intelligence

Editor’s blog

jaimie kaffash 2 duo 3x2

jaimie kaffash 2 duo 3x2

I know – you are probably sick of Brexit by now. But there is one point on it that I need to get off my chest: the Prime Minister is continuing to link the £20.5bn a year increase in NHS funding with the Brexit dividend – the £350m a week we save from being out of the EU that was plastered over the big red bus.

In a radio interview with LBC, Theresa May said: ‘When we leave the EU we won’t be sending the vast amounts of money to the EU every year that we do at the moment …that means we will have money to spend on priorities like the NHS… It will mean £394 million more a week going into the NHS.’

Disregarding the baffling politics behind continuing this line – even Nigel Farage distanced himself from that pledge – it has to be put into context.

The £20.5bn was essential to the extent that even the Government couldn’t ignore the need for funding. The Health Foundation and the Institute for Fiscal Studies said earlier in the year that this funding is just enough to maintain current service levels. And the investment represents a 3.4% increase - below the average historic 3.7% increase since 1948. In other words, the Government would have little choice but to invest, regardless of Brexit.

Whatever your views on Brexit, there is little indication that it will help the NHS, other than this fabled funding. But there is plenty to suggest it will harm the NHS, and general practice: EU doctors say they don’t trust the Government; we are stockpiling medicines in case of future supply issues following our exit; and we still don’t know how it will harm recruitment when we are already in the middle of a staffing crisis.

The £20.5bn will be used for NHS England’s ten-year plan. It may be a document that changes NHS and general practice for the better. But let’s not pretend that it will in any way be helped by leaving the EU.

Jaimie Kaffash is editor Pulse. You can follow him on Twitter @jkaffash

Readers' comments (6)

  • Its more fundamental Jaimie, NOTHING will help the NHS. Socialised healthcare provision at our level is doomed to be the economic blackhole that it is. Most socialist policies and countries turn out that way - massive failures. Why? Its easier to be liberal with someone else's money. So the effects of Brexit on the NHS, whether good or bad, are simple scratching the surface.

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  • A couple of points.
    First, Pulse is a primary care publication whose top priority is meant to be general practice. So far, Pulse has been doing a great job with news and education. Sadly, Brexit is altering its ethos. There is not a single line in this article referring to the GPs’ rightful share of the 20.5 bn, most of which will no doubt be channeled to the hospitals to pay their debts, following the fate of the STP's billions.
    Second, I gave up reading the Guardian some time ago, only to see a medical periodical taking up the Remainers' discredited Project Fear. It is not Brexit that dissuades German or Dutch or French or Polish doctors from working in the UK, but the total demolition of the NHS in general and general practice in particular, by the majority of remainers who run the government.
    It would be wise for Pulse to keep away from politics that split the country right in the middle and adhere strictly to matters medical.

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  • ''It would be wise for Pulse to keep away from politics that split the country right in the middle and adhere strictly to matters medical''

    @1:47 -Are you real! NHS mess is a result of political kamikadzes. If you don't realize that this is the result of a tragic political mess then, honestly, there are free IQ test online which you may wish to refer to.

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  • Would be nice if BMA stopped insulting our intelligence by pretending to represent Doctor's interests.

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  • Unscepted- don’t insult Sceptic! I fully agree...... all political parties have wrecked the NHS with their short term vote appealing policies..... labour and the PFI outrage, tick box culture etc started the rot which the tories continue....

    It is insulting for a publication which we read for MEDICAL need to assume we all think alike just because we work in the NHS! Respect our differing opinions and engage in debate..... not hurling childish insults!
    I don’t want to see political posturing in Pulse- for the same reason I no longer read the guardian....
    I don’t expect it in Pulse - it’s not the place for it and the arrogance and assumption of it really incenses me.... I’m not allowed to rant at my patients with my views- nor would I dream of inflicting them in people........equally Pulse spare me yours- I don’t share them!

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