The fall of the pound following Brexit is having an alarming impact on the NHS’ ability to buy pharmaceuticals, leaving patients waiting for, or without, proper treatments.


The Vote Leave campaign misled the public, suggesting that the £350 million Britain paid the EU each week would be ‘saved’ and then put towards the NHS.

It is now proving to be the case that the NHS will be worse off than it was before.

[Related story: How losing EU laws could affect our pockets]

Before the vote, the NHS England chief executive, Simon Stevens, did suggest that leaving the EU could potentially damage the provision of healthcare, and warned that Brexit could become a “terrible moment” for the NHS.

While the state of the economy is in flux right now, and things could change and stabilise, Stevens’ warning is proving prescient.

Why is this happening?

The pound’s value has been significantly devalued following Brexit, which for the NHS – which purchases large quantities of medication from the US and around the world – means significant price hikes.

With the NHS already struggling financially, any increased bills may directly affect their ability to prescribe certain drugs to ill individuals.

Case study

The Sunday People kick-started – and won – a campaign to get 18-year-old kidney patient Abi Longfellow the treatment she needed after NHS England were forced to reconsider whether it could afford the cost of the drug Eculizumab for her. After sterling crashed, the drug increased in cost by £16,000 over night.

[Related story: Brexit: financial winners and losers]

Which other treatments are being affected?

The Mirror has reported that expensive procedures have been particularly hit by the Brexit fallout, namely robotic surgeries for people suffering from kidney and bladder cancers, as well as those due to receive intense radiotherapy for tumours and proton beam therapy for prostate cancer.

Many procedures such as these have been postponed, while people with HIV and those who have experienced strokes are also expected to face problems with their treatment.

Are you worried about accessing NHS treatments following Brexit? Tell us in the comments box below