Doctors and nurses deliver their diagnosis on Brexit promises for the NHS – they were a “deliberate lie” - People's Vote

Doctors and nurses deliver their diagnosis on Brexit promises for the NHS – they were a “deliberate lie”

A new YouGov poll of the UK’s doctors and nurses today reveals that two thirds of them now say the claim that Brexit would provide an extra £350 million a week for the NHS was a “deliberate lie” by Vote Leave campaigners – and fewer than one in 10 still believe it to be true.

The poll comes as the People’s Vote campaign publishes the results of more than 100 Freedom of Information responses that shows more than three-quarters of NHS trusts have made no preparations for the UK’s departure from the EU – and that many have deep concerns over its impact on services and a growing staffing crisis.

The poll of more than 1,000 medical professionals – 322 doctors and 707 nurses – shows a clear shift towards staying in the European Union if there were given the chance. They would now prefer to stay in by three-to-one (75 per cent to 25 per cent) compared to 66 to 34 per cent two years ago.

There is also overwhelming backing for a People’s Vote on the outcome of Brexit negotiations - by a margin of 71 per cent to 29 per cent, once “don’t knows” are removed -  amid growing concerns that broken promises and a staffing crisis will damage the NHS.

Asked for their view on the statement that Brexit would provide the NHS with an extra £350 million a week from funds currently paid into the EU, 66 per cent of doctors and nurses described it as “deliberate lie,” a further 14 per cent it was untrue but not deliberately so, 12 per cent said they were unsure, and just 8 per cent said they still believed it to be true.

The survey, commissioned by the People’s Vote campaign, also reveals widespread pessimism among doctors and nurses about the prospects for the NHS if Brexit goes ahead.

  • A total of 64 per cent said the NHS would get worse, compared to 7 per cent who think it will improve.
  • A similar proportion – 62 per cent - say waiting times for operations in their area will increase with just 6 per cent saying they will get shorter
  • More than three-quarters – 77 per cent – say local hospitals will find it harder to recruit the doctors and nurses it needs compared to just 3 per cent who say it will become easier.
  • And 88 per cent say the NHS needs doctors and nurses from overseas to keep the health service running – with just 9 per cent disagreeing – while 90 per cent say it will take a long time to train UK recruits to replace those that are leaving.

 

Peter Kellner, one of Britain’s most respected pollsters and a past president of YouGov, said:

“Far from looking forward to a big cash boost for the NHS from Brexit, most doctors and nurses fear that their local health service will get worse if the UK leaves the EU, with waiting lists growing longer and recruiting and keeping medical staff harder. It is striking that attitudes towards Brexit have shifted more among NHS nurses than almost any other group. Two years ago, 64 per cent voted to stay in the EU. Now the figure is 73 per cent – a nine point jump and twice the national average. Support for staying in the EU is also up among doctors, by six points, from 72 to 78 per cent.

“It’s clear that the £350 million a week extra for the NHS promised by the Leave campaign has backfired on the doctors and nurses who stood to benefit from it. Two in three of them now regard it as a deliberate lie.  The big message from this survey is clear. According to the people in the best place to judge – doctors and nurses working in every community in Britain – Brexit would damage the NHS and be bad for its patients, and not provide the massive boost that was one of the central claims in the 2016 referendum.”

Dr Mike Galsworthy, founder of NHS Against Brexit, said:

“This new polling shows what we all know: that the promise of £350 million a week is bust, and all forms of Brexit are costly. The recent Migration Advisory Committee report has showed that EU immigration does not strain our NHS, with most being healthy and providing a net profit to the economy.  After all this, we’re left only with a fallen pound, EU staff leaving, extended austerity and preparations for medicine supply shocks.”

The People’s Vote campaign has submitted Freedom of Information requests to 482 NHS trusts that shows fully 75 per cent of the 101 that have responded have made no planning for Brexit.

They include NHS trusts in the constituencies of:

  • Theresa May (Maidenhead) - Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dominic Raab (Esher and Walton) – South West London and St George's Mental Health Trust
  • Liam Fox (North Somerset) - Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust

Of the 25 Trusts which have responded with information about Brexit planning or risk assessments, 14 have expressed concerns about staffing shortages after Brexit. Many are worried that it will be far more difficult to recruit doctors and nurses if the UK leaves the EU while others fear more EU staff currently in place will quit their jobs.

Harrogate and District Trust said: “Evidence already suggests that recruitment from the EU is getting more difficult. In 2015, 10 per cent of new NHS staff were from the EU, but in the first six months of 2017 that declined to 8.2 per cent.”

Other concerns expressed include a possible influx of British pensioners returning from Europe or that they will lose access to important cancer treatments.

North Lincolnshire and Poole NHS Trust said: “There are 190,000 UK state pensioners currently signed up to the S1 scheme and living within the EU who could potentially return to the UK in order to receive care. The additional cost for this to health services is estimated to be between £500 million and £1 billion per year. There would be a requirement for an additional 900 hospital beds, and 1,600 nurses to meet demand.” It added:  “post Brexit there will be no UK source of the predominant radioisotope used for imaging.”

Dr Andrew Dearden, BMA treasurer and Brexit lead, said:

“Our members have made it clear that they are worried that Brexit could seriously undermine the provision of healthcare in the UK and Europe.

“The challenges posed by Brexit are considerable and though there has been some progress, there is too much uncertainty around what the implications will be for doctors and the health service.  We already know, for example, that Brexit has already had a huge impact on the morale of EU NHS staff working here – our own research has shown us that almost half of NHS staff from the EU are considering leaving the UK because of the EU referendum.

“Though concerns were raised prior to the Brexit vote, no one could have imagined the extent of the complications such a result would bring. However, in light of what we know now, it is imperative that the public has a say in any proposed Brexit deal.”

Danielle Tiplady, an NHS nurse said:

"I voted Leave but nurses like myself are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with this government's dire handling of Brexit which appears to be leading us off a cliff edge. Since the Brexit referendum, our NHS colleagues have been treated appallingly by this government with an intentionally created hostile environment. This is driving EU nurses away from the UK at a time when we have 42,000 nursing vacancies. It is shameful how unwelcome they have been made to feel when they simply come here to help care for the nation." 

Joan Pons Laplana, another NHS nurse, said:

“A lot of people voted for Brexit because they were worried about the NHS - and people believes the £350 million a week promise that the Leave campaign parades up and down the country on the side of a bus. But immediately after winning the referendum, they backtracked. Now the same MPs are trying to sell our NHS bit by bit to American private insurance companies. Mr Johnson forgot to write this at the side of a bus. That’s why I believe we need a People’s Vote.”

Dr Charles House, consultant radiologist at UCLH, said:

“Brexit leaves less money available to spend on our NHS - and other public services - I’ve seen this causing more restriction of services and longer waits for patients to receive treatment. We are already short of 40000 nurses in the NHS and the damaging effect of Brexit has made it much tougher and more costly to find new recruits. I’ve experienced the unrelenting pressure this puts on our NHS teams, day in, day out.

“My hospital has a huge cancer workload, with very many European doctors in our consultant teams - this is how world class care is delivered in the 21st century and Brexit is a devastating backward step, placing adults and children at risk.  Stockpiling medicines is the tip of the iceberg - the barriers of Brexit make it harder for patients in the UK to be part of ground-breaking research and mean it will take longer for new drugs to become available on the NHS.”

/Ends.

Notes to editors:

  1. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1,029 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2nd - 10th October 2018.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+). Full details of the polling can be found here: https://bit.ly/2NBlPmh
  1. Details of the FOI requests can be found below:

 

Number

Percentage

Total FOIs to Trusts

482

 

Trusts response rate

101

21%

Trusts without planning

76

75%


No plan Trusts in constituencies of key Cabinet ministers

  • Theresa May (Maidenhead) - Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust
  • Dominic Raab (Esher and Walton) – South West London and St George's Mental Health Trust
  • Liam Fox (North Somerset) - Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust and Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust

Full list

Region

NHS Trust

Response date

East

Southend University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

10/10/2018

East

The Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Trust

11/09/2018

East Midlands

University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust

05/10/2018

East Midlands

Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

04/10/2018

East Midlands

Northamptonshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

24/09/2018

East Midlands

Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust

13/09/2018

East of England

Cambridge University Hospitals

02/10/2018

East of England

Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust

17/09/2018

East of England

James Paget University Hospitals

14/09/2018

London

Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

05/10/2018

London

Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health NHS Trust

03/10/2018

London

Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

28/09/2018

London

South West London and St George's Mental Health Trust

20/09/2018

London

Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust

20/09/2018

London

Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trusts

17/09/2018

London

Whittington Health NHS Trust

14/09/2018

London

Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust

12/09/2018

London

St George's University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

10/09/2018

London

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust

25/09/2018

London

King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

25/09/2018

London

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

13/09/2018

North East

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust

05/10/2018

North East

Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

21/09/2018

North East

South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust

20/09/2018

North East

Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

18/09/2018

North East

City Hospitals Sunderland

14/09/2018

North West

Royal Liverpool University Hospital NHS Trust

03/10/2018

North West

North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

01/10/2018

North West

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust

28/09/2018

North West

Tameside and Glossop Integrated Care NHS Trust

25/09/2018

North West

Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

24/09/2018

North West

St Helens & Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

18/09/2018

North West

University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Trust

13/09/2018

North West

Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust

13/09/2018

North West

Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust

11/09/2018

North West

Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust

11/09/2018

North West

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

04/10/2018

North West

Countess of Chester Hospital

02/10/2018

North West

Mid Cheshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

27/09/2018

North West

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust

25/09/2018

North West

Manchester university NHS Foundation Trust

19/09/2018

North West

Aintree University Hospital

14/09/2018

Scotland

NHS Forth Valley

24/09/2018

Scotland

NHS Ayrshire and Arran

14/09/2018

South East

Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust

05/10/2018

South East

Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust

04/10/2018

South East

Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

02/10/2018

South East

Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals Trust

27/09/2018

South East

Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

14/09/2018

South East

Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust

05/10/2018

South East

Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust

02/10/2018

South East

Luton and Dunstable University Trust

28/09/2018

South West

Somerset Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

28/09/2018

South West

Taunton and Somerset NHS Foundation Trust

28/09/2018

South West

Dorset Health Care University NHS Foundation Trust

24/09/2018

South West

University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust

20/09/2018

South West

Weston Area Health NHS Trust

18/09/2018

South West

University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust

12/09/2018

South West

Poole Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

11/09/2018

South West

Dorset County Hospital

27/09/2018

Wales

Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board

19/08/2018

West Midlands

Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust

02/10/2018

West Midlands

University Hospitals of North Midlands

27/09/2018

West Midlands

Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust

26/09/2018

West Midlands

Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust

12/09/2018

West Midlands

The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust

12/09/2018

West Midlands

Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

11/09/2018

West Midlands

North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare NHS Trust

10/09/2018

West Midlands

George Eliot Hospital Trust

04/10/2018

Yorkshire and Humber

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust

08/10/2018

Yorkshire and Humber

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

04/10/2018

Yorkshire and Humber

Bradford District Care NHS Foundation Trust

25/09/2018

Yorkshire and Humber

South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

21/09/2018

Yorkshire and Humber

Sheffield Children's NHS Foundation Trust

12/09/2018

Yorkshire and Humber

Airedale NHS Foundation Trust

02/10/2018