In 2016 the United Kingdom held a referendum in which the majority of the electorate voted to leave the European Union. The outcome of this process was uncertainty over several issues, which includes the NHS.
Medical schools have started incorporated topics relating to Brexit in medical school interviews. They could ask a general open question around Brexit, or more likely in our view, specific questions about certain areas of Brexit. This could include issues around the free movement of people and free movement of goods, including pharmaceutical and medical supplies. They could target the question on the impact on the whole NHS, or possibly more specifically at patients or hospitals.
Here are some points which you can consider in your answers:-
The NHS relies on EU clinicians in both health and social care. These staff now face uncertainty about staying and working in the UK. This could leave further unfilled posts in the posts in an unready understaffed NHS due to the negative impact of recruitment and retention. This leads to more pressure on the staff left to cope with the increasing demands that patients make on the service.
MMI Question: How does any restriction on free movement of clinicians from the EU affect the patient at your local GP surgery?
There are cross EU collaborations, including between universities, in medical fields including research. This could be put at risk.
MMI Question: How could your local medical school be affected by Brexit?
The NHS is funded by general taxation, the levels of which are related in general to the economy. The impact of Brexit on the economy is uncertain which could put further pressures on the NHS.
UK citizens do have rights with regards to treatment in EU countries. This not only relates to citizens on holiday, but also those that have chosen to make EU countries their homes. This reciprocal cover is now at risk.
There may be restriction on access to medication and supplies from the EU. This now may mean such supplies are restricted, but they may also be more expensive to the NHS. This could result in policies to limit the supply of such medications to patients with more stringent criterion therefore reducing the autonomy of doctors and patients to choose their treatments.