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Majority of British people worried about the fate of the NHS in post-Brexit US trade deal, survey reveals

Published on 28/11/19 at 12:40pm

In a newly released survey on “Over-The-Counter (OTC) and Pharma 2019”, by the business data platform Statista, 55% of people surveyed were concerned about the potential post-Brexit trade deal with the US and its impact on the NHS.

The survey assessed the responses of more than 2,000 British consumers. The NHS being part of a UK-US trade deal was first touted back in June by US Ambassador to the UK, Woody Johnson.

However this survey was conducted prior to the most recent revelations about the Trump administration’s desires for the NHS. Yesterday, Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn revealed secret government documents that showed the US had been pushing for a hard Brexit to deregulate the NHS and increase drug prices as part of a trade deal.

This followed a similar story on Tuesday, which revealed a private meeting in 2018 between the representatives of the British Government and a top executive at pharmaceutical firm Eli Lilly. The corporation also wanted to charge higher prices for their drugs. In light of this evidence, it can be assumed a higher percentage of people are concerned about the impact a UK-US trade deal than is indicated in the survey.

The survey also contained general questions on the NHS and Brexit. It showed that only 30% of respondents believe Brexit will provide opportunities to improve the NHS, and 14% still believed in the widely debunked promise of the Leave campaign that the NHS will get £350 million a week after Brexit. 50% are concerned about EU staff leaving the NHS, with the same percentage feeling troubled about access to medicine after Brexit.

Leaving the EU could threaten the jobs of 65,000 EU nationals who make up 5.5% of NHS staff in England, while making up 9.5% of all doctors and 6.4% of nurses. The number of EU workers in the NHS has already been decreasing since 2016.

Conor Kavanagh

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