Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations The Best Policy

A new year hangover the NHS can’t shake off

BMJ 2017; 356 doi: (Published 11 January 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;356:j79
  1. Nigel Edwards, chief executive
  1. Nuffield Trust, London
  1. nigel.edwards{at}

Brexit has transformed UK politics. Where does it leave the NHS?

Brexit means uncertainty and a high level of confusion for the United Kingdom and the NHS, as Martin McKee has described in a BMJ blog.1 Much has been written about Brexit’s effect on the many clinicians and other staff from the European Union who make a vital contribution to health services and to social care. Those who are here now don’t know whether they will be able to remain, while those who are needed to fill gaps in the workforce have seen their potential salary devalued by over 15%, with the fall in the value of sterling. Some of the rhetoric heard from prominent politicians has not helped. All this comes at a time of serious staff shortages …

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