Calls for government to honour NHS funding Leave pledge

NHS England has warned the government that by not giving more money to the health service as promised by Leave campaigners, voters will lose trust in politics.

Health chief Simon Stevens addressed the controversial claim made in the run up to the referendum that Brexit will bring £350m per week to spend on the NHS. He stressed that whilst the NHS wasn’t on the ballot paper, it was on the battlebus and that the public want to see this honoured.

North East Labour MEPs, Jude Kirton-Darling and Paul Brannen, back this call which would see a significant and much needed investment in health care at a regional level where the NHS is struggling with a recruitment issue which left one in 55 jobs unfilled.

Jude Kirton-Darling MEP said: “The battlebus fantasy claim was what sold Brexit to many voters, and Leave campaigners such as Nigel Farage didn’t shy away from shamelessly backtracking on this just hours after the referendum result. If this government wants to save a last shred of credibility, it must deliver on the promise and avoid the deeper damage of a hard Brexit, which would cost five times as much as we spend on GPs annually (£45bn), according to the Treasury.

“Money going on new civil servants needed to handle the Brexit process could hire an additional 9,000 nurses. But even all this new workforce hasn’t been enough for this government to get serious and guarantee EU citizens’ rights in our country so it is clear why, amidst all of this uncertainty, over 35,000 EU nurses have left the UK since the referendum. We’re driving away those we need the most.”

Paul Brannen MEP added:  “This is a government in chaos, with cabinet ministers dropping like flies. Turmoil within the Tory party is distracting them from making significant Brexit progress and from focusing on domestic issues such as the looming NHS crisis – their priorities are clearly all wrong.

“When we hear of the billions of pounds being invested in offshore tax havens that this government has somehow managed to overlook and similar amounts in tax avoided, the £30bn funding gap facing our NHS by 2020 becomes infinitely frustrating. The Leave campaign might have been built on empty promises, but the government must act now to avoid a disaster.”

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