Ward closures among UK hospital contingency plans for no-deal Brexit

Brexit could cause ward closures at some NHS hospitals according to a report | Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

Ward closures among UK hospital contingency plans for no-deal Brexit

Planning documents outline potential interruptions to children’s services, Parkinson’s diagnoses and HIV prevention.


5/15/19, 2:22 PM CET

Updated 5/16/19, 4:55 AM CET

LONDON — A no-deal Brexit will severely impact hospital services and could even prompt ward closures and interruptions to children’s services, according to planning documents seen by POLITICO.

Detailed preparations from 35 hospitals in England describe serious disruptions to the provision of health care services for patients in the event of a no-deal exit from the EU. One hospital said that a loss of EU staff could lead to the suspension of services, while another warned it may be unable to process diagnostic tests for Parkinson’s disease because of missing medical supplies.

The internal documents, released under Freedom of Information rules in response to a request from pro-Remain organization Best for Britain, include risk assessments and contingency plans formulated by hospitals since the Brexit referendum, as well as correspondence with NHS England, the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Exiting the European Union.

Opposition Labour MP Paul Williams described the results as a “damning indictment of the government and its project to leave the EU.”

“We shouldn’t be in a situation where hospitals across the country are scared about staffing levels and potentially having to cut back services in order to stay afloat,” he said. “These documents show that Brexit presents a real threat to patient care across the country.”

Most trusts continue to report grave concerns around the supply of medicines.

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