The EU is a threat to the NHS

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The UK sends over £350 million to the EU each week – that’s enough to build a fully-staffed, brand new hospital every week


EU rules have weakened safety checks on doctors making patients less safe and have held back cancer research


The EU is taking more control of the NHS and forcing more privatisation


Labour MPs have warned that EU proposals could lead to the ‘demise of the publicly-funded National Health Service’

Vote Leave to invest an extra £100m into the NHS every week


Being a member of the EU harms the NHS. Successive British Governments have passed more and more control over our NHS from doctors to bureaucrats in Brussels. Today, the NHS has to deal with damaging EU rules that are often a mix of the extremely expensive, the extremely cumbersome and the extremely ideological. This creates many problems for the health sector.

Being in the EU means that we have to allow any EU citizen who wants to come to the UK to enter. This puts huge pressure on local hospitals which have to deal with many more patients. This is dangerous. The NHS is already facing a crisis with trusts announcing that they are too full to accept any more patients, yet in the last twelve months that figures are available over a quarter of a million more EU migrants entered the UK.

In recent years the EU has gradually opened the NHS to the private sector. Leaked legal advice to the Department of Health in November 2006 suggested that private companies could have the right under EU law to sue the NHS for ‘abuse of a dominant position’ and warned that GPs are subject to EU competition law. In 2011, the EU introduced a new ‘Healthcare Directive’ which Labour MPs warned would lead ‘to the demise of the publicly-funded National Health Service.’

A vote to ‘remain’ means permanent EU control and more problems for our NHS. It is also a vote to keep sending £350 million to the EU every week - enough to set up a brand new, fully staffed hospital every week. If we Vote Leave we will be able to spend that money on our priorities like the NHS.


Because of free movement laws, the UK cannot test every EU doctor operating in the UK for whether they can speak English. This has had tragic and fatal consequences and it is now estimated that almost half of EU doctors seeking work in UK have failed to prove English skills. Dogmatic EU rules, designed to protect the rights of EU migrants over patients, mean that the UK lacks the power to check systematically the language proficiency of EU doctors.

The EU has introduced many laws that undermine the NHS. EU officials have imposed expensive restrictions on the development of cancer drugs, with the Clinical Trials Directive creating serious problems, delaying the testing of life-saving cancer drugs. The Working Time Directive has also proved to be extremely expensive and has caused serious problems, with hospitals no longer able to ensure that they have enough staff on hand to look after patients. The European Court, rather than elected British politicians, is now in charge of the hours doctors can work in our NHS.


‘Rising demand’ for NHS services is one of the principal reasons identified by regulators for the NHS’s forecast £2.4 billion deficit in 2015-2016.

There were 475,000 live births to mothers from other EU countries between 2005 and 2014, the equivalent of adding a city the size of Manchester to the population. The cost of providing NHS services to those families could be over £1.33bn. If we remain in the EU, the NHS will be put under more and more pressure and the A&E crisis will get even worse.

If we Vote Leave on 23 June, we can not just reduce the pressure on the NHS, but can stop sending £350m to the EU every week and instead spend it on our priorities. £350m is enough to build a brand new, fully staffed hospital every week.


The EU has taken control of many areas of public health policy. The European Court now decides the prices at which alcohol can be sold in the UK. The European Court is also in control of the conditions under which cigarettes can bought and sold. The European Court will increasingly use the Charter of Fundamental Rights to take more control of public health if we vote to stay.


This situation is only going to get worse. The EU has made clear that it now wants even more control over our NHS. There are serious concerns that the EU’s proposed ‘Trade and Investment Partnership’ deal with the USA could have a serious impact on the NHS and extend the privatisation of the Health Service. The British Medical Journal recently warned that ‘the risk for the NHS would be that it could never afford to return a service in-house once it was contracted out.’ Top QCs have warned that ‘TTIP poses a real and serious risk to future UK [Government] decision-making in respect of the NHS.’ This means that if we remain in the EU it will become ever harder to keep the NHS in public hands.

The European Commission has announced that it wants to take control of the NHS in the next few years in a new Treaty. The European Commission has said it ‘can’t imagine a more economically effective possibility than to manage health issues at EU level’. A new EU Treaty is already planned as early as next year as part of the Five Presidents’ Report.

If we Vote Leave we ensure that our NHS remains public. We can cut the burden of regulation on the NHS and could afford to build a brand new, fully staffed hospital every week.

Key Facts

Useful facts, videos and graphics to share with your friends and family

VIDEO: If we vote Leave, we can take back control from Brussels

VIDEO: If we vote Leave, we can save the NHS

Don’t believe BSE’s scaremongering

The EU-funded Britain Stronger In Europe (BSE) campaign is trying to scare you by saying you would not ‘receive free emergency health care in the EU’ if we Vote Leave. The EU provides healthcare to non-EU nationals and the European Health Insurance Card is open to non-EU countries.

Further Reading


    EU judges have too much control over our NHS - LINK

    Britain has now paid more than half a trillion pounds to the EU - LINK

    Our NHS is being shortchanged by the EU - LINK

    UK gives £5.8 billion more to EU countries for medical costs than it gets back - LINK

    Growing pressure on the NHS due to higher migration - LINK

    How the EU is threatening patient safety - LINK

Promoted by Matthew Elliott on behalf of Vote Leave, both at Westminster Tower, 3 Albert Embankment, Lambeth, SE1 7SP

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