BREXIT: IMPACT ON HEALTH & SOCIAL CARE?

he  reports' conclusion is that although the immediate effect of Brexit will be on trading and working, the impact on patients and service users will be profound should the envisaged economic shock materialise. The government must be honest!

Here are the key points for social care from the Kings Fund article looking at the impact of Brexit.

Firstly, Brexit brings uncertainty at a time of huge operational and financial pressures and can only add confusion to the mix. There are 5 key areas of impact:

Staffing:

  • 80,000 of the 1.3m workers in Adult Social Care have come from other countries
  • Recruitment in social care is difficult with a current shortfall of 5.4% in residential care and 7.7% in domiciliary care
  • staff turnover rate is 25.4%

In this environment it is essential that the government clarify the position of EU nationals working here already, on people being able to come and work here, on parity of qualifications. Jeremy Hunt has sought to reassure people but provisions are not sufficiently comprehensive.

Accessing treatment here and abroad

Regulation

Clarity is needed around several EU directives: whether they stay in place or get repealed; the article does not look specifically at the impact of these on social care, focusing instead on the health sector, but it would be interesting to get feedback from providers on what they feel could be the impact on their businesses.

  • working time directive: 
  • procurement and competition law
  • regulation of medicines and medical devices
  • regulation to enable common professional standards and medical education between EEA countries

Cross Border cooperation

The article looks closely at the impact of Brexit on cooperation in

  • public health issues such as surveillance and early warning of communicable disease
  • research funding
  • freedom of movement of researchers
  • economies of scale and access to wider data

Funding and Finance

  • Vote Leave promised £100m per week cash injection for the NHS but leaders have distanced themselves from this claim
  • Remain threatened dire economic shock if we left the EU.
  • The performance of the economy is the biggest determinant of how much money will be available for Health and Social Care. If the Remain claims pan out then there will be shortages of finance at a time when there is already huge financial pressure. The Government needs to be honest.
General NewsLydia Walker