Feature Briefing

UK science and health outside the EU

BMJ 2016; 353 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.i3595 (Published 29 June 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;353:i3595
  1. Anne Gulland, freelance journalist, London, UK
  1. agulland{at}bmj.com

Anne Gulland assesses the outlook for the NHS, drug industry, and public health

What will happen to NHS finances?

NHS funding was one of the key battlegrounds of the referendum campaign. Prominent Brexit campaigners now seem to be rolling back on the pledges plastered on the side of their battle bus and on official posters that the £350m (€420m; $470m) a week they claimed the UK sends to Brussels should be spent on the NHS.

Conservative MP Iain Duncan Smith, member of the Vote Leave campaign, told the BBC after the result, “I never said that the £350m was an extrapolation of the £19.1bn—that’s the total amount of money we gave across to the European Union [in 2014]. What we actually said was a significant amount of it would go to the NHS.”

Researchers at the London School of Economics put the real weekly figure as £164m after taking into account the rebate and payments for areas such as agriculture and research. However, they write, “We would still not be able to reinvest all of the repatriated monies into our underfunded NHS as is often suggested. This money would be needed to negotiate trade deals, particularly if we want access to the single market . . . and to fund other areas which are currently heavily supported by EU contributions.” 1

Sarah Wollaston, Conservative chair of …

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