Many doctors and nurses are taking the Brexit referendum personally, with some leaving London, before the scheduled exit on March 2019.

Many were hurt by the term “immigrants”, as when they initially came to work they were all Europeans travelling freely and working in a member state of the EU, believing that they have been wooed by the National Health Service (NHS).

Andreas Herfurt, a German general practitioner, who has served the NHS rural practice for 19 years, said he doesn’t know how much longer he will stay in Britain, and said, “I wonder: Am I wanted?”.

Several refuse to submit a criminal background check or stand in queue for a work permit, after years of unconditional service they have provided to UK Patients.

In a survey conducted by the British Medical Association at the end of 2017, almost 50% of the European doctors working in Britain were considering moving abroad (especially Germany, Spain and Australia) following the Brexit vote, and nearly one-fifth had made solid plans — selling homes, looking for jobs etc.

Looking at the facts:

By 2022, UK will have a shortage of approximately 16,000 GPs and 100,000 nurses.

The UK Parliament’s statistics in February 2018 revealed that one in every eight(or 12.5%) NHS Staff in England is from other countries and about 9.6% doctors and 7.1% nurses are Europeans. Health experts predict the numbers to be similar in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

As immigration was cited as one of the key issues in the 2016 referendum, UK will struggle to recruit human resources from European countries in years to come, worsening the situation further.


So what relationship will UK have with the EU after Brexit?

UK is scheduled to depart at 11pm UK time on Friday 29 March 2019. Talks are now moving on to future relations- and a plan for a two-year “transition” period after March 2019, to pave the way to smooth post-Brexit relations.

Nothing is ever certain. However, possible scenarios could be soft or hard Brexit, mainly referring to the closeness of UK’s relationship with the EU post-Brexit

  • In Hard Brexit, UK may refuse to compromise on free movement of public, and in turn might give up any hopes of a free trade aggrement with the EU – which most likely will be the scenario, as in July 2017 UK confirmed that EU citizens will not have free movement to and from the UK after its scheduled exit in March 2019
  • On the other hand, a Soft Brexit would make UK, a member of single market, accept the freedom of movement of goods, services, capital and people (similar to Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein)

Broader Impact on Healthcare?

Brexit is expected to have profound impact on other segments of Healthcare and NHS in many ways.

UK is expected to incur huge administrative and cost burden in the coming years.

Currently, drug manufacturing companies need to register on a single clinical trial database to run multi-country studies for new drugs in the EU. However after Brexit, UK companies will need to apply individually in each country.

UK would lose influence on the EU regulatory bodies resulting in separate pharmaceutical databases to be maintained by the EU and UK, which will in turn result in more spending by the UK NHS.

The General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) notified a declining drop in pharmacist registrations in 2017 compared to 2016.

Future coordination between UK and the EU in dealing with pandemics and other health threats will be impaired.