No-deal Brexit could cause medicine shortages and ‘exacerbate’ NHS staffing crisis, think tanks warn

Groups warn of potential healthcare complications as chancellor announces £210m boost for NHS training in England

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Tuesday 03 September 2019 10:23
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No guidance on us of ferries for medicines in no-deal Brexit

A no-deal Brexit could lead to medicine shortages, affect treatment for UK nationals in Europe and “exacerbate” the NHS staffing crisis, a group of leading health think tanks have warned.

The Nuffield Trust, The King’s Fund and the Health Foundation will write to MPs on Tuesday warning of the implications for health and social care services should the UK leave the EU without a deal.

The news comes as chancellor Sajid Javid is set to announce a £210m boost for training in the NHS in England as part of his spending round statement on Wednesday.

The statement, which will also set out plans for 20,000 extra police and billions of pounds for education, is widely regarded as an attempt to pave the way for an early election as Boris Johnson seeks to shake off the Tories’ austerity image.

The cash will include funding for a £1,000 personal development budget for each nurse, midwife and allied health professional.

The budget can be used to support personal learning and development over a three-year period and is designed to encourage frontline staff to stay on in the NHS.

Wider education and training budgets will also receive cash in the one-year spending round settlement for 2020-21.

Access to additional training is regularly cited as an issue affecting morale and retention for non-medical staff, especially nurses.

Mr Javid said: “This is a Spending Round to support and celebrate our public services, getting cash to those on the frontline, including delivering on our promises to the NHS.

“Our nurses, midwives and other dedicated NHS professionals care for us when we need it most, so it’s right that we support them to develop rewarding and fulfilling careers, and continue to deliver the highest standards of care for patients.”

And health secretary Matt Hancock said the announcement should send a “crystal-clear message” that the NHS is ready to look after its staff and ensure they can pursue a lifelong career in the health service.

The PM visits a hospital in Boston

The chief nursing cfficer for England, Ruth May, said: “More staff, working in rewarding jobs and supportive environments, will be key to delivering the improvements for patients we set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

“The nurses, midwives, care workers and other staff I speak to across England tell me time and again how important ongoing training is when they are thinking about their next career move, so I know today’s signal of intent will be welcomed across the health service.”

Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “This falls short of Labour’s £330m pledge to invest in training our NHS staff and comes after years of Tory cuts contributing to a staffing crisis which has seen 100,000 shortages across the health service.

“The truth is the Tories simply don’t care about the NHS.”

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