BMJ says U.K. should remain in European Union

The BMJ is advocating that the U.K. remain in the European Union (EU).

The journal has been publishing articles that explore the main arguments for the U.K. leaving the EU, and how this move would affect population health and the National Health Service (NHS). But the journal's editors now say doctors should vote against Brexit (British exit) on 23 June.

"Some readers may wonder why the BMJ is intervening in a political debate," the journal's editors wrote in an editorial published online on 14 June. "We think this issue transcends politics and has such huge ramifications for health and society that it is important to state our case ... it has become increasingly obvious that the arguments for remaining in the EU are overwhelming."

The Leave campaign's arguments about the NHS are wrong, BMJ editors wrote: For example, the claim that the U.K. sends 350 million pounds (441 million euros) to the EU each week is incorrect.

And the NHS would be damaged if Britain left the EU, according to the BMJ, with healthcare spending per person decreasing by 135 pounds (170 euros) per person by 2020. As well, the European Medicines Agency in London would have to move, which would negatively affect research funding.

Europe needs reform, but both Europe and Britain will be better off if Britain votes to remain, wrote Sarah Wollaston, member of Parliament and chair of its Health Select committee, in an opinion also published in the journal.

"We need to continue to make the case for democratic reform, but I am convinced that the case for the NHS, public health, and research is overwhelmingly in favor of us remaining in the EU," she concluded.

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