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Getty/Dan Kitwood

No Deal Brexit: what it means for the NHS

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Fewer doctors and nurses, medicine shortages for cancer patients and an open door to Trump and his Big Pharma cronies.

A no-deal Brexit means devastation for our NHS and social care services.

It means less money for nurses and doctors at a time when budgets are already stretched to the limit.

It means a staffing crisis and shortages of vital medicines that can’t be stockpiled in advance of Brexit day.

And it means selling off our NHS to President Trump and American big pharma.

No matter how you voted in the Brexit referendum, no one voted for that. That’s why we won’t stand by and let Boris Johnson push through a devastating no deal on 31 October.

And whatever happens, it’s time to let the people have the final say.

Less money for our NHS

Last week the heads of Britain’s health unions issued a warning about the impact of a no deal Brexit on NHS and social care budgets.

After a decade of austerity, health and social care budgets across the country are already under huge pressure.

But Treasury assessments show that a no-deal scenario would shrink our economy by £90bn, further reducing the money available for vital public services.

With many care providers already in difficulty, a hit to the public finances could have knock-on consequences for the NHS.

With waiting times rising, operations being cancelled and yet another winter crisis looming, the health service simply can’t weather a long-term economic shock.

Yet it’s not like there isn’t money available to tackle the funding crisis.

According to recent reports , the government has already spent £8.3 billion preparing for a no deal Brexit.

That money could have plugged this year’s funding gap for adult social care or paid for 270,000 new nurses for a year.

The prime minister should be rebuilding our NHS, not wasting time and money on a no-deal Brexit.

Staff and medicine shortages

Health and care staff are the lifeblood on our NHS.

Every day they go above and beyond to make sure we can all access world-class care when we need it.

But a no deal Brexit will leave tens of thousands of NHS and care workers in limbo, intensifying the largest staffing crisis in the services' history.

We have already seen thousands of EU staff leave since 2016, exasperated at the uncertainty over their immigration status and worried about their future in this country.

It’s high time ministers acted to end this uncertainty.

They must unequivocally guarantee the right of European health and care staff to continue to live and work in the UK.

The leaked Yellowhammer report also makes clear that a no deal Brexit could cause significant disruption to the supply of medicine, lasting up to six months.

Many medicines, including life-saving agents for cancer diagnosis and therapy, cannot be stockpiled and for those that can, stockpiles could run out.

These kinds of shortages and delays can be fatal. No responsible government should take that risk.

Trump-deal Brexit

A no-deal Brexit frees Boris Johnson to do a dodgy trade deal with Trump’s America that will threaten the NHS and other public services.

American big pharma corporations can’t wait to get their hands on our NHS. They’d love a deal to weaken our cost control and drug approval systems and flood the health service with more expensive, less tested medicines.

We’ve all seen how this plays out on the other side of the Atlantic. More than 27 million people are not protected by health insurance at all and working families pay huge premiums just to get basic care.

Ordinary people are literally being cheated out of healthcare so that super-rich executives can rake in the billions.

This kind of healthcare system is inhumane and has no place in Britain. But a no-deal Brexit will open the door to Trump and the corporate giants to start the carve up.

A no-deal Brexit is really a Trump-deal Brexit – and that’s why we’ve got to stop it.

No to no deal

It’s never been more important to stand up for our NHS and stop a no-deal Brexit.

Any responsible government that cared about protecting our vital health and social care services would rule it out as simply too risky and too damaging.

But it’s clear this government is ready to put lives at work to drive through a reckless no deal.

That’s why the TUC supports all democratic efforts to stop a disastrous no-deal Brexit. The stakes couldn’t be higher.