Brexit has dominated the headlines since the referendum back in June 2016, but the impact that Brexit will have on the care industry is still uncertain.
Brexit has ushered in a period of significant economic and political uncertainty at a time when the NHS and social care are already facing huge financial and operational pressures. Although there are a lot of questions still circulating in the media, the impact on the care industry balances the good news with the concerns.
With the likelihood of the UK leaving the European single market and the customs union increases, new deals are being negotiated with countries who currently supply vital goods (such as medication and equipment) and services. Regardless of the final Brexit landscape, ensuring that the public have access to treatments has been a priority in the next negotiations and there are promising signs of a feasible plan.
Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of NHS England, has said the health service has been working on emergency planning to ensure medicines and equipment would still be available after a no-deal Brexit. (quote resource 2)
Brexit negotiations also have the potential for the UK to pursue new opportunities to improve the health and social care regulations. If rules on competition are removed, the current restrictions on further integration and collaboration between international health services would be lifted. This could potentially enable further and faster improvements for public health.
The workforce both here at Trinity Homecare and across the entire health and social care sector benefits from experienced, knowledgeable and skilled professionals who are EU nationals. The recruitment and retention of EU nationals in our workforce is a primary concern for Brexit negotiations. The care sector welcomes the announcement that EU citizens currently living in the UK will be able to remain and continue providing the British public with vital and valuable care.
When Theresa May announced a £20bn funding boost to the NHS, by 2023 (quote resource 2), the Prime Minister said the funding will be made available by a ‘Brexit dividend’ and increased taxation. Despite these assurances, independent forecasts anticipate that Brexit will have a significant impact on the economy, which may affect the funding available for health and social care. With restrictions on funding, medical research and development will become more reliant on collaboration of researchers and independent bodies.
The unrest in the economy doesn’t seem appear to be consistent with Brexiteers’ referendum promise that the NHS will receive increased funding or c.£350m a week as a result of no longer paying contributions to the EU (quote resource 2). Establishing relationships is a fundamental aspect of Brexit negotiations and will undoubtedly be the focus of upcoming discussions.
If you’re considering care for yourself or a loved one, planning ahead and researching your options will help you make an informed decision. For more information about funding options, visit our advice pages and contact our friendly team for professional guidance, advice and support.