This Thursday, the entire nation will have the opportunity to cast their vote in arguably the most important referendum of our lifetime. On the 23rd June, millions will be deciding whether the UK should REMAIN or LEAVE the EU.
It has been argued by the leave camp that leaving the EU would in turn benefit the NHS. They have argued that money that is currently being spent on EU membership could otherwise be spent on improving the NHS, however how true is this?
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens has warned that the NHS could face a time of serious uncertainty in the event of a Brexit vote, as the UK could plummet into another recession, “When the British economy sneezes, the NHS catches a cold,” he said, adding, ” It would be very dangerous if at precisely the moment the NHS is going to need extra funding actually the economy goes into a tailspin and that funding is not there.” However, an argument has been suggested by the leave party that by remaining in the EU, the NHS is at risk of being privatised. This begs the question; can we really keep the NHS and still remain in the EU too?
Claims that vote leave could result in hospital staff doubling in size are ambitious, however there is a case to suggest that the NHS could see some financial benefit from a Brexit vote in some way. The money which would ordinarily be spent on EU membership could be spent in helping fund the NHS. However, some would believe that the amount of money we spend on EU membership isn’t enough to completely save the NHS. In actuality, our net payment to the EU would fund the NHS for only 19 days a year, accordin
g to NHS England. Further to that, the NHS and care sector have stated that they employ 135,000 EU migrants, including 10,000 doctors and 20,000 nurses. This itself proposes a new problem, if a leave result does come to fruition, what does this mean for the EU doctors and nurses currently residing in the UK?
When it comes to travelling within the EU, over 27 million Brits do so with their European Health Insurance Card, which allows them to get state provided health care during a temporary stay. Whether this benefit may or may not be guaranteed after Brexit is uncertain and is still left up to debate.
With valid arguments for both camps, there is no right answer here. Whether you vote to STAY or GO, be sure to make your decision as informed as possible. For the latest information regarding the referendum please visit the BBC website for live updates.
The polls will open at 7am on Thursday 23rd June.
If you’d like to share your thoughts on the EU referendum, please do so in the comment’s box below.