Brexit. It’s safe to say that whatever you voted for back in Summer 2016 that you’re probably sick of hearing the word. Despite continual political uncertainty and no clear consensus on a deal, 29th March is still fixed as ‘Brexit-Day’ where Britain are scheduled to leave the EU at precisely 11pm UK time. With the departure date on the horizon, it’s worth considering what a post-Brexit UK will look like. Some are apprehensive as selected economists have predicted that the UK’s per capita income in the medium and long term will drop significantly.
Our Beloved NHS
A huge part of the controversy surrounding Brexit and the ‘vote leave’ campaign was derived from a sticker on a big red bus purporting that 350 million pounds could be saved a week and used to fund our already suffering NHS. As a nation, we pride ourselves on our rights as citizens to access the NHS free of charge and it is an institution that unites us all together. Putting politics and hindsight aside, it’s important to strive for some clarity amongst all this confusion and riff raff and consider what the impact of this can mean on NHS staff and patients.
What Will Brexit Do?
Assuming that a no deal, hard-brexit from the E.U takes place at the end of March, which at this point seems entirely possible, then the three most clear immediate ramifications would include:
- Patient Access
There’s been a lot of speculation on the outcome of Brexit on British Citizen’s living in Northern Ireland, Expats, and citizens that are travelling abroad. It was only in August last year that The Royal College of Nursing told the BBC that Brexit ‘poses immediate risk to the provision of safe and effective care’. They particularly warned those living in areas between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland as it has been said that cardiac surgery is not performed in Northern Ireland but rather patients are transferred to Dublin. Expats are also at risk too, with no clear guarantee from the government of free healthcare after Brexit according to The Guardian. Indeed, these predictions also have the potential to cause even more strain on an already overburdened NHS with many believing that they have no option but to live in England to receive NHS healthcare.
The general consensus of NHS staff is that Brexit will cause further damage to the NHS with the majority of employees being advocates for remaining in the EU. It’s thought that Brexit will affect approximately 11% of the UK Physician workforce with a lot of them deeply concerned whether or not they’ll be able to stay with their families in the U.K. This could mean bad news for everyone; an over demand for healthcare combined with staff being forced to leave is a recipe for disaster.
With all of our medical products and pharmaceuticals being regulated by EU law, there is increasing concern over potential custom delays and the availability of vital products. Even the Government has gone as far to suggest that stockpiling of six weeks supply of medicines will take place but undoubtedly this will take its financial toll on the NHS budget.
What Can You Do?
Paying attention to the constant Brexit noise and chatter in the media makes it seem as though doomsday is on the way, right? With the referendum out of our hands and the deal-making left to parliament, Brexit preparations can feel a bit abject. Fear not! There are still some practical ways around what looks like a nationwide NHS crisis…
Survive it? Go Private!
Traditionally, there’s been a lot of stigma surrounding the existence of private hospitals and healthcare in the U.K, which is hardly surprising when the majority of the nation is in support of a National Health Service. However, private healthcare is becoming increasingly popular especially amidst both an NHS crisis and uncertain Brexit deal with over 4 million people insured in just 2015. It’s easy to dismiss private healthcare as an option after being so well adapted to free healthcare, but in light of the Brexit outcome some of the benefits are unavoidable:
- Speedy Treatment
With the NHS already burdened with more patients than they can handle and a severe lack of staff, there’s been extraordinary long waiting lists for treatment, even for high priority cases. By going private you’ll duck this completely, you’ll have access to a wider range of resources and a larger selection of treatments often from doctors who are a lot more specialised in their area which may not be as available with the NHS. There’s even the possibility that you’ll have access to state-of-the-art treatment which is not available on the NHS full stop as due to lack of funding or approval.
A lot of private healthcare institutes offer a couple prerogatives which include choosing a private room, your own doctor and location of your appointment. Whilst it’s easy to say that these are just merely convenient, they’re advantageous for the patient that wants peace of mind, comfort, as well as consistency. It’s personal. You go to your doctor where you please. Some private hospitals even go as far to offer amenities such as a room with a private TV!
Private healthcare coverage encompasses prescription drugs that are needed both before and after treatment which is very reassuring considering that, as before mentioned, the NHS are potentially stockpiling 6 weeks of medication following Brexit day already. Private healthcare ensures that you are guaranteed access to the essential pharmaceuticals during your treatment.
Let’s not ignore the elephant in the room: private healthcare does cost. But how much exactly? The average price for coverage on two adults in their 40s and two children under the age of 10 is roughly 700 to 1800 pounds per year, depending on who your insured with. There’s no arguing that it is costly, but there are ways around this!
Loan for Medical Bills
It’s often forgotten that loans can also be offered for private healthcare services. Whether you have private healthcare insurance or just need to pay for a singular specialist treatment, medical loans can be lifesaving- no pun intended. iThink Finance offers flexible repayment plans tailored specifically to your financial situation and even allow you to repay over extended periods of time so long as you can pay affordable monthly instalments. So, what are you waiting for? Prepare yourself for post-Brexit Britain today!