NHS & Brexit

Brexit and the NHS


The NHS European Office is playing a key role in analysing the implications of the UK’s vote to leave the EU on the NHS, enabling NHS organisations and senior decision-makers to make informed decisions about next steps.


Here you’ll find the latest information on the EU withdrawal process, an overview of implications for the NHS, frequently asked questions and up-to-the-minute commentary and analysis.


You can also find out more about our activity to influence Brexit negotiations with the NHS Confederation and as part of the cross-sector Cavendish Coalition.


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The implications of Brexit 



01 / 5 / 2017


The influence and impact of EU affairs on the NHS has significantly increased over time, with various aspects of domestic health policy intrinsically linked with EU policy.  


The leave vote will have far-reaching implications for the NHS, but it is not possible at this stage to predict the level of impact as we do not know which type of relationship the UK government will seek, how long negotiations will last and which outcome there will ultimately be. 

Despite this uncertainty, we expect that a withdrawal from the EU could have implications on a number of crucial areas for the NHS, expressed by the handy BREXIT acronym: 


X-border healthcare 


This guide provides a quick overview of potential implications in these areas. More in depth analysis on these issues is available from our blogs and articles


The health and social care workforce

There are approximately 144,000 EU nationals working in health and social care organisations across England: 80,000 in adult social care, 58,000 in the NHS, and 6,000 in independent health organisations.

The leave vote has created uncertainty on the future rights of these employees.  If a significant proportion of EU nationals working in health and social care services leave as a result of the present uncertainty, the sustainability of some services and the delivery of high quality services would be jeopardised.  


With this in mind, the Cavendish Coalition has been created, a coalition of 31 health and social care organisations aiming to ensure sustainable workforce supply and thereby maintaining standards of care as Britain withdraws from the EU.


The NHS European Office is a member of the Cavendish Coalition.