Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Editor's Choice

Seeking informed consent on Brexit

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: (Published 15 November 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k4816

Rapid Response:

Re: Seeking informed consent on Brexit

Dear Dr Godlee

I have read a great deal in the pages of the BMJ about Brexit and your call for a second referendum. But I have not come across any mention of an issue that concerns me. If we apply to remain in or re-join the EU, what will be the future for the NHS?

The EU is committed to ever closer union, with a general fading of the importance of nation states. It seems to me there is no place in this scheme for a National Health Service. We would have to adopt an insurance based system like France and Germany. European Health Groups would bid to run current NHS services. I never worried about this in the past because if the EU had tried to dismantle the NHS I thought we would just leave. That would not be an option in the future if we re-join.

I think the BMJ and perhaps the BMA should take legal advice and make a clear statement to your readership and membership concerning the consequences to the NHS of a vote to re-join. You have published economic forecasts as fact, so there should be no difficulty in mapping the likely political consequences.

The BMJ and the BMA will not be forgiven if your campaign for “a people’s vote” leads to the dismantling of the NHS within the next decade.

Yours sincerely

James A Morris
Pathologist (retired)

Competing interests: No competing interests

03 December 2018
James A Morris
Consultant Pathologist (retired)
University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust
Education Centre, Royal Lancaster Infirmary, Lancaster, LA1 4RP