The latest Tory tactic seems to be to warn against a “bad Brexit” and to say that only they, if they get a whopping enough majority, can make sure we get a “good” deal. On that majority point, think of the last time you said to yourself “Oh, Merkel has a huge majority, we need to do what she says.” The point is that we go into these negotiations in a weakened position anyway. There are 27 EU member states and 1 of us. Who has the power here? The Tory brexiteers needn’t bother trying to blame the EU for a situation that they created.
Jeremy Hunt is the latest to talk of the dangers of Brexit going wrong and what that will mean for our NHS. In fact, if Brexit happens, it will damage our NHS on various fronts. The crash in our economy that would result if Theresa May’s extreme Brexit goes ahead would cost the NHS dearly. And today a report says that the NHS could stand to lose an extra half a billion if returning ex-pats came back to be treated on the NHS in Britain. This was entirely predictable.
That is just one problem of several highlighted by the Nuffield Trust:
According to the Nuffield Trust, it may not be easy to continue with this agreement after Brexit.
If all of these pensioners decided to return to the UK – a big if – they could be expected to fill 900 NHS hospital beds a year, it says.
The NHS would need about 1,600 more doctors, nurses and other workers to provide the care, it estimates.
Also, hospitals could end up short-staffed if migration of workers from the EU slows or stops post-Brexit.
And access to medicines could also become more difficult if the UK leaves the EU’s medicine licensing system.
So, we have a crashing economy, extra people to treat with fewer staff and restricted access to medicines. All of these are en entirely predictable consequence of any Brexit. It’s not exactly what was written on that bus, is it?
In response to today’s report, Norman Lamb said:
The Conservative Brexiteers promised a £350m a week saving for the NHS. Instead the public finances are facing a £59bn Brexit black-hole because of Theresa May’s decision to go for an extreme Brexit, which would take us out of the single market.
Jeremy Hunt warns that the NHS will not have enough doctors or nurses with a so-called ‘bad Brexit’. But Theresa May’s refusal to guarantee a right to remain for NHS staff has already resulted in staff leaving the NHS. Thanks to Theresa May, this is already a bad Brexit.
Sadly, the people who will suffer are patients, who will pay with cancelled operations. But Theresa May just doesn’t seem to care.
Nick Clegg’s Brexit Challenge papers set out in detail why Brexit in general and Theresa May’s extreme Brexit in particular will cause huge problems for business, our economy and public services. Read them here.
* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings