There’s lots of information at the moment on Brexit, so we’ve decided to explain in an easy to digest way what might happen to our health and social care.

All of this information on this page has been adapted from the King’s Fund Brexit: the implications for health and social care article.

When looking at health and social care, there are 4 main things that will be affected by Brexit:

  • Staffing
  • Accessing treatment abroad
  • Medicine regulations
  • Medicine supply

Staffing – There is already a shortage of staff in the NHS and social care. This is especially true for nurses, many types of doctors, and care workers. There is a reliance on EU citizens to fill some of these staffing gaps, so we could see an even bigger shortage if it becomes difficult to migrate to the UK. In the case of a no-deal Brexit, EU citizens will be able to enter and leave the UK as before. But, if they wish to stay longer than 3 months, they will need to apply to do so. Successful applicants will be able to live, work, and/or study in the UK for 3 more years.

Accessing treatment abroad – There is quite a bit of uncertainty around this particular topic. However, it looks very likely that EHIC cards will no longer be valid. This would mean that travellers would have to buy private travel insurance, as you would when holidaying outside of the EU.

Medicine regulations – Rules on medication from the EU will stay until 2020. But the UK already has it’s own regulating body, so there won’t be too many issues with this transition.

Medicine supply – in the event of a no-deal Brexit, some medications might be more difficult to get a hold of. The government has asked suppliers to ensure they stock up on medications. However, GPs, hospitals, pharmacies, and patients have been advised to carry on as usual.

For more information on how Brexit will affect NHS funding, research and clinical trials, as well as regulations around competition and working directives, please see the original article.

There’s also lots of information on what else Brexit will affect, from businesses to individuals on the government website.


Published on 13 Mar, 2019 (updated 29 Apr, 2024)

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