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Tuesday 23 July 2019
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Media Watch

Léa Legraien takes an irreverent look at some of the biggest health stories in the media

Don’t Brexit the NHS

We are all more or less aware of the outcomes of Brexit on the NHS, but do we know the extent that a ‘no-deal’ Brexit would harm our National Healthcare System?

The Nuffield Trust published a report in November 2017, analysing the impact of the UK’s future relationship with the EU on the NHS.

EU nationals represent 5.6% of all NHS staff. Even though this figure may not seem much of a big deal, it represents, nevertheless, around 62,000 workers that contribute to the running of the NHS.

Since the Brexit vote last June, nearly 10,000 EU workers have already left the NHS, which has partly shaped its current state.

In its report, the Trust found that ‘a scenario where the UK leaves without any deal would cause extensive problems for the NHS’. So yes, we get the point Nuffield Trust, but thanks for the info anyway.

I blame you

According to a story in The Guardian, Prime Minister Theresa May allegedly told NHS chief executive Simon Stevens that he would be held ‘accountable’ for the NHS’ performance this winter. No pressure, then.

Mr Stevens recently asked Chancellor Philip Hammond to inject an extra £4bn into the NHS to stop patient care deteriorating next year. His call was rejected.

Mr Hammond recently told the BBC’s Andrew Marr: ‘In the run-up to the Budget, people running all kinds of services and government departments come to see us and they always have very large numbers that are absolutely essential, otherwise Armageddon will arrive.’

Armageddon might not happen but, without the required funding, three million people will wait to be seen in A&E services for more than four hours this winter.

Mr Hammond added that ‘the NHS might be able to find some money for particular pressure points’.

In 2013, health secretary Jeremy Hunt said that ‘the NHS could save more than £4bn by making better use of technology’.

Ironically, the Government set aside £4bn for areas such as electronic records and online appointments, prescriptions and consultations to achieve a ‘paperless’ NHS by 2018.

Vicious circle?

Amazon web drug.0

Amazon recently sparked fear after announcing its plan to enter the US pharmacy industry.

The giant online retailer recently acquired pharmacy wholesale licenses in 12 states, which means it can cover the distribution of medical-surgical equipment devices alongside other healthcare-related equipment.

In Japan, customers can now buy some drugs online, after Amazon expanded its Prime Now delivery service in April 2017.

With a UK pharmacy market worth £12bn per year, Amazon could consider taking over the pharmaceutical sector.

If we continue at this rate, we might also soon find same-day kidney delivery under the ‘health and personal care’ department.