Mental health network

Brexit and the mental health sector

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The potential implications of Brexit on mental health services were outlined to senior mental health leaders recently, by Elisabetta Zanon and Danny Mortimer of the NHS European Office and NHS Employers. 

Speaking at the Mental Health Network Annual Conference and Exhibition, Elisabetta outlined the specific issues that could impact mental health services, including:

  • Increased service pressure – particularly the impact of withdrawal from the EU on people’s mental health, the questions over the continuation of reciprocal healthcare arrangements with a significant number of UK pensioners living in the EU, as well as the impact on parity of esteem in the event of an economic slowdown, post-Brexit.
  • Access to innovative treatments - with around 6 per cent of the total UK health research spend going into mental health, it is left to the EU to fill the gap. The EU is the largest single funder of mental health research in Europe and one of the 10 largest funders globally. Also, without the European Medicines Agency system there could be a delay in access to new medicines in future.
  • Shortage of staff – around 10 per cent of the medical workforce is from the EU and in psychiatry this is around 13 per cent. Over a third (41 per cent) of doctors in psychiatry training are non-UK graduates.

As its chair and founder, Danny Mortimer explained the role of the Cavendish Coalition, which brings together 34 health and care organisations, that have commited to ensuring standards of care are maintained as Britain prepares to withdraw from the EU.

With the withdrawal process due to begin on Wednesday 29 March 2017, Danny outlined the vital role the coalition will play in ensuring the NHS voice is heard throughout the Brexit negotiations.

A briefing, based on the session, is being developed for Mental Health Network members and you can find out more about Brexit and the role of the NHS European Office on our Brexit web pages.

Find out more about the Cavendish Coalition on the NHS Employers web pages.

You can see a copy of Elisabetta’s slides for further information on her presentation.

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