Referendum Watch: Healthcare

By Joe Young - Politics Editor

We all love the NHS. But what would remaining in or leaving the European Union mean for it? At Pluto, we’ve done the research so you don’t have to. However you vote, we want you to have the facts. As such, find three brute facts – all of which are cited – and three arguments from each side.

Brute Facts

  • The UK is in the middle when it comes to the number of doctors, in the rank of EU countries (Source)
  • Spending on the NHS will rise between now and 2020, but due to inflation will actually reduce in real terms (Source)
  • By 2020, the NHS will have a funding gap of between £2.8 billion and £3.5 billion (Source)


  • The Remain side say that EU nationals make a net contribution to the UK budget so actually cost the NHS less than a British person does
  • They also say that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC Card), which entitles holders to free emergency medical care across the EU, is too valuable to lose
  • Finally, they say that without migrants from the EU working in the NHS, it would be so chronically understaffed it would collapse


  • The Leave side say that EU nationals cost the NHS £773 million a year
  • They also say that things like the EHIC Card can be negotiated in deals with the EU
  • Finally, they say that the migration system is unfair towards potentially better skilled workers from outside of the EU so leaving would give the UK better qualified staff

To read more in the Referendum Watch series, click here

About Joe Young 316 Articles
Joe Young has been involved with student media for a very long time now, holding posts within The Pulse, and Pulse Radio, as well as the predecessor of The Pulse, Pluto. He is currently Politics Editor of The Pulse, and Head of News of Pulse Radio. In 2016, he won the Media Award for Best Article for his coverage of the Fishergate Shopping Centre bomb scare.
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