First survey shows 75% of frontline NHS leaders say Brexit would have negative impact on NHS
The first survey of NHS trust chairs and chief executives’ views on the impact on the NHS of leaving or remaining in the EU is published today by NHS Providers.
A key concern for NHS leaders is the impact on recruiting staff and access to funding for research and innovation
The survey was conducted to inform NHS Providers’ response to the Health Select Committee’s inquiry into the impact of membership of the EU on heath policy in the UK. It is the first survey of frontline NHS leadership opinion on the Brexit debate following comments last weekend from two former NHS chief executives and the current Chief Executive of NHS England. Forty-five chairs and chief executives from England’s hospital, ambulance, mental health and community trusts responded to the survey.
Commenting on the findings, NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson, said:
“In response to the big question on whether leaving the EU would have a negative impact on the NHS, the vast majority of NHS leaders in our sample believed it would. This is not an exit poll and we do not claim this to be extensive research of the whole NHS, but it does show us the strength of feeling on what could be a generation-defining decision.”
Three questions were asked in the survey (conducted between 28 April and 11 May 2016). The key findings are:
- A substantial majority – 75 per cent of our sample of 45 leaders – felt that leaving the EU would have a negative impact on the NHS as a whole. No respondents felt that leaving the EU would have a very positive impact.
- Two-fifths (40 per cent) felt leaving the EU would have no impact on the amount of funding the NHS receives. But over a third (38) felt it would have some or a very negative impact.
- 8 in 10 respondents (80%) felt that leaving the EU would have a negative impact on trusts’ efforts to recruit health and care staff.
- Almost two-thirds (65%) felt that leaving the EU would have a negative impact on access to shared learning and knowledge from clinical trials, networks or other research and innovation.
- While 8 in 10 respondents (80%) felt that leaving the EU would have a negative impact on access to funding for research and innovation.
- However, one issue where it was thought there would be a positive impact was on competition rules: over two fifths (42%) felt that leaving the EU would have some or a very positive impact on procurement and competition rules affecting their trusts.