Brexit is believed to have serious implications for the healthcare sector of the UK, which is dependent on the European Union (EU) for workforce and pharmaceuticals supplies.

GlobalData has conducted a poll to assess whether the sentiment on the impact of Brexit on the UK healthcare sector post-Brexit changed since the COVID-19 crisis started.

Analysis of the results shows that the sentiment has turned more negative since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, as opined by a majority 45% of the respondents.

Post Brexit impact on the UK healthcare sector

Comparatively, the sentiment remained unchanged among 29% of the respondents, while it turned positive for 26% of the respondents.

The analysis is based on 302 responses received from the readers of Pharmaceutical Technology, a Verdict network site, between 01 September 2020 and 04 January 2021.

Impact of Brexit on the UK healthcare sector

After the UK voted to leave the EU in June 2016, much attention has been paid to the trade sector, although the impact of Brexit on the healthcare sector remains less discussed. The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is one of the biggest employers in the country with a workforce of more than 1.5 million and an annual budget that exceeds £110bn ($123.5bn).

Under the new agreement signed in December 2020, there will be no free movement of labour between the UK and EU. The NHS and the social care sector may not be able to function in the same way without the international workforce, according to The King’s Fund, an independent charitable organisation.

Further, the NHS is expected to face severe shortage of workforce in the short term. The NHS is expected to need a minimum of 5,000 more nurses a year from overseas, while measures to expand domestic capacity is undertaken, adds The King’s Fund.

Brexit is also expected to put pressure on the UK’s medicines supply chain. The UK becoming the sole regulator of pharmaceuticals and medical devices could lead to delay in accessing new medicines, though no immediate impact is anticipated, according to GlobalData.