The Health Select Committee held an inquiry to inform what the priorities for health and social care sector should be in the negotiations concerning UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

The outcome of the UK’s negotiation on its withdrawal from the European Union will have significant implications for the NHS.

To start with, the UK’s future trading relationships, with Europe and the rest of the world, have profound implications for the funding available for the NHS as well as other public services; a high-performing sustainable health system needs a strong economy.

The UK also currently faces staff shortages in critical areas, most notably nursing and general practice, and relies heavily on foreign-trained staff to help meet rising demand. Whether the NHS can continue to recruit and retain health professionals from EU countries depends largely on the outcome of the negotiations.

In addition to these longer-term challenges, the greatest short-term risk to the NHS as a result of the UK’s decision to leave the EU is a significant rise in inflation, which would see staff wages fall even further in real terms.

Further reading