The future of the NHS

Denis Campbell Rachel Clarke Martin McKee Joan Pons Laplana Anita Charlesworth

Great Hall

May 13th, 2017, 9:45 am - 10:30 am


How does the nation's favourite institution survive these straitened times and the threat of creeping privatisation?

An Ashcroft poll of 10,000 people this spring shows 58% say that improving the NHS is the most important issue facing them and their family. Negotiating Brexit comes third, at 39%. These priorities are identical for both Remain and Leave voters. The NHS was promised an extra £350 million a week when Britain leaves the EU by the Leave campaign. This may yet come to pass, although many Leavers have abandoned the promise. What we know now is that the British Red Cross said the NHS was facing a humanitarian crisis last winter, as it battled to keep up with demands on services.

Now the NHS may suffer from staff shortages, inflation and increased costs: 60,000 EU nationals in the health and care industries say they feel unwelcome and many may leave the UK. Why does Britain’s favourite public institution play such a key role? Is the NHS being cynically used by Remainers to continue the fight against Brexit?

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