A review from the Nuffield Trust has estimated that the cost of treating British expats on the NHS after Brexit could reach a massive £1bn if they cannot reach an agreement to enable them to continue with having their treatment abroad. So can the NHS who are already facing difficult times cope with the additional pressure?
It is estimated that approximately 190,000 pensioners live abroad and the review estimates the NHS would need to find around 1600 more doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers to provide the care and if they all decided to return to the UK, they could fill another 900 NHS hospital beds a year.
So with the election looming and two very different views on NHS healthcare funding perhaps it is Brexit that holds the greater risk rather than the election itself.
An article from the BBC 31st May 2017 confirms:
There could be gains too post-Brexit, the Nuffield Trust says.
When the UK leaves the EU it could stop paying EU membership fees. Money from this saving could be used by the NHS.
Nuffield Trust spokesman Mark Dayan said: “It is possible that extra funds could be found for the NHS from any cancellation of Britain’s EU membership fees.
“But whether or not these benefits will outweigh the significant staffing and financial costs Brexit may impose on already stretched services remains to be seen.
“That depends largely on the NHS being recognised as a significant priority as we enter some of the most important negotiations in Britain’s history.”
The British Medical Association urged politicians to keep the health service and its patients at the forefront during Brexit negotiations.
For the full article please visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-40095822
If the worst happens and no deal is found to provide care for the expats abroad then residents in the UK will almost certainly have to consider alternative options such as private healthcare whether self-funded or via private medical insurance options when it comes to healthcare to avoid lengthening waiting lists for treatment especially when it comes to non-urgent surgical procedures such as hip replacements and hernia‘s.