The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy surveyed chairs and chief executives working in hospital, ambulance, mental health and community trusts – the first time NHS leadership has been asked for opinion.
Among the findings of the survey by NHS Providers that represents 96 per cent of the 238 NHS Trusts were:
Two in five (42%) said there could be beneficial effects on the procurement and competition rules affecting their trusts. In other words, privatisation of the NHS would be helped if we leave the EU!
But three quarters (75%) of respondents stated that leaving the European Union would have a negative effect on the NHS as a whole reports the institute’s website.
Interestingly, No respondents felt that leaving the EU would have a positive impact on the NHS.
NHS Providers chief executive Chris Hopson said:
“Our survey shows the concern NHS leaders have about a range of issues if the UK were to exit the EU. High up on this list is the impact on recruiting staff and access to funding for research and innovation.”
More worringly, 8 out of 10 (80%) respondents felt that leaving the EU would have a negative impact on trusts’ ability to recruit health and social care staff.
In severely short staffed professions like nursing and care work, the NHS is heavily reliant on employees from Europe.
The same proportion of respondents believed that a vote to exit would limit access to funding for research and innovation. In terms of funding overall however, more thought there would be little or no impact. Two fifths (40%) agreed with this, while over a third (38%) felt there would be some or a very negative impact.
Two thirds of leaders (65%) thought access to shared learning, knowledge from clinical trials, networks or other research and innovation would also suffer.
NHS Providers’ findings follow comments last weekend from two former NHS chief executives, Nigel Crisp and David Nicholson, and the current chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens.
Echoing a favourite Remain camp phrase, Crisp and Nicholson dubbed Brexit a “leap in the dark”, while Stevens warned a vote to leave would be “very dangerous” for the service.