Intended for healthcare professionals


Brexit is bad for our health

BMJ 2018; 361 doi: (Published 23 May 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;361:k2235
  1. Mike Gill, retired regional director of public health,
  2. Martin McKee, professor of European public health1,
  3. Mark Malloch Brown, chairman2,
  4. Fiona Godlee, editor in chief3
  1. 1London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK
  2. 2Best for Britain
  3. 3The BMJ, London, UK
  1. mgilm1{at}

And can be prevented

The risks of Brexit to our health and our health services are becoming starker. This should concern us all as health professionals, whatever deal is finally brought before parliament for approval.

In January 2018 the UK government’s own estimates of the impact on economic growth were leaked.1 Ministers dismissed concerns about the scale of the impact, arguing that the leaked documents didn’t include their preferred option. This gap has now been filled by the think tank Global Future. Its report includes the estimated economic effect of this “bespoke deal,” conveniently expressed in terms of NHS funding.2 It says that the “Norway” option, by which the UK would remain in the European Economic Area, would reduce public finances by a figure equivalent to 9% of the NHS 2018 budget. The “Canada” option, involving a future free trade agreement, would see funding cut by 31%; no deal by 44%; and the government’s preferred option—if it is achievable, which most commentators doubt—by 22%. These figures should be seen in the light of estimates that the NHS will need £25bn (€29bn; $34bn) more than currently planned by …

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