Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Data Briefing

Causes of concern for the NHS after Brexit

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: (Published 14 November 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k4767
  1. John Appleby, chief economist,
  2. Mark Dayan, policy and public affairs analyst
  1. Nuffield Trust, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to: J Appleby john.appleby{at}

Peering into the Brexit black hole, the Nuffield Trust’s John Appleby and Mark Dayan find evidence for effects on NHS funding, staffing, and pharmaceutical and related trade as well as research and regulation

Barring some extraordinary event over the next few months, the UK will officially leave the European Union at 11 pm (midnight for the rest of Europe) on 29 March next year. On what terms this will be remains uncertain. After 43 years of increasing economic, legal, and regulatory entanglement, unravelling the past and setting out a path for future relations with the EU was never going to be completed in two years from invoking Article 50.

Although the UK government has its plans, the fraught process of negotiation in both London and Brussels means that exactly what the world will look like for the UK after this process is beyond the event horizon. The future may be hard to predict accurately but, as the favourite analogue of macroeconomic forecasters goes: “If you binge on …

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