Hartlepool hospital chiefs have made no preparation for ‘no deal’ Brexit, says People’s Vote campaign

The University Hospital of Hartlepool.
The University Hospital of Hartlepool.

Hartlepool hospital bosses have made no plans to cope with the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal, according to the group calling for a second Brexit referendum.

The People’s Vote campaign says three-quarters of NHS hospitals in England, Wales and Scotland which replied to a Freedom of Information request have not done any contingency planning in the event of ‘no deal’ - including North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust.

The recent Migration Advisory Committee report showed that EU immigration does not strain our NHS, with most being healthy and providing a net profit to the economy.

Dr Mike Galsworthy

More than a hundred trusts responded to the campaign’s Freedom of Information requests, of which 75% admitted they had not made any plans in the event of the UK leaving the European Union without any deal.

And many trusts which did have plans had concerns over the impact of Brexit on services and a growing staffing crisis.

The survey also found that several of the NHS trusts which say they have not done any planning for a no-deal Brexit include those in the constituencies of several key Cabinet ministers, including Prime Minister Theresa May, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab and Trade Secretary Liam Fox.

Of the 25 trusts which did respond with information about Brexit planning or risk assessments, 14 expressed concerns about staffing shortages after Brexit.

Some were worried that it would be more difficult to recruit doctors and nurses if the UK leaves the EU while others fear EU staff currently in place will quit their jobs.

Other concerns expressed included a possible influx of British pensioners returning from Europe or that loss of access to important cancer treatments.

The research is published as a new YouGov poll shows most doctors and nurses think the claim Brexit would provide an extra £350million 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.

Dr Mike Galsworthy, founder of NHS Against Brexit, said: “This new polling shows what we all know: that the promise of £350million a week is bust, and all forms of Brexit are costly.

“The recent Migration Advisory Committee report 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.”

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust did not comment on the People’s Vote statement.