Together we represent more than a million health and care staff.
They’re the lifeblood of our health service, consistently going above and beyond to make sure we can all rely on world-class care when we need it most.
A no-deal Brexit could devastate the NHS and social care. And if this government goes ahead with it, health and care workers will be on the frontline. As the Yellowhammer report makes clear, a no deal could cause significant disruption to the supply of medicine, lasting up to six months. Many medicines, including life-saving agents for cancer diagnosis and therapy, cannot be stockpiled and for those that can, those stockpiles could run out. These kinds of shortages and delays can be fatal. No responsible government should take that risk.
We have already seen thousands of EU staff leave since 2016. In the event of a no deal, tens of thousands of NHS and care workers from the EU would be left in limbo, intensifying the largest staffing crisis in the services’ history.
Ministers must unequivocally guarantee the right of European health and care staff to continue to live and work in the UK. Finally, we know that the stronger our economy, the more funding we can dedicate to the NHS and social care. Treasury assessments show that a no-deal scenario would shrink our economy by £90bn, reducing the money available for the NHS and other vital public services.
After a decade of austerity, health and social care budgets across the country are under immense pressure. With many care providers already in difficulty, a hit to the public finances could have additional knock-on consequences for the NHS. With waiting times rising, operations being cancelled and yet another winter crisis looming, the health service cannot weather a long-term economic shock.
UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said:
“Boris Johnson is setting a timebomb for the NHS. The promises of more cash for the health service made during the referendum were just empty words.
“No deal will instead leave the NHS gasping for breath, creating chaos for the hard-working staff and spelling potential disaster for patients.”
We call on the government to take no deal off the table.