New study sheds light on U.K. doctors' views on Brexit

2016 07 06 11 22 59 854 Eu Uk Split 400

The majority of U.K. doctors consider themselves to be left-wing and liberal-minded, and they believe Brexit bodes poorly for the National Health Service (NHS), according to research published online on 30 July in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.

In light of upcoming shifts in healthcare due to political decisions including Brexit, first author Dr. Kate Mandeville and colleagues from various U.K. institutions conducted a survey on the political beliefs and voting behaviors of doctors in the U.K. They sent their survey out to a wide range of physician specialty associations and associated social media groups and also directly to individual doctors through the online professional network Doctors.net.uk.

Among the 1,172 doctors who responded, nearly two-thirds described their political views as left-wing or liberal, with a score of 4 on a scale of 0 (extremely left wing) to 10 (extremely right wing). Surgeons and doctors in higher income brackets tended to register a right-wing score.

In addition, 79.4% of the doctors claimed to have voted for the U.K. to remain part of the European Union (EU) in the June 2016 referendum, with 98.6% advocating that EU nationals working in the NHS should be allowed to stay in the U.K. post-Brexit. Most respondents also agreed with the ideas of charging patients who are not eligible for NHS treatment for nonurgent care (70.6%) and reserving a part of national spending for the NHS (87.1%).

Regardless of income or specialty, nearly all doctors thought Brexit would be "very bad" for the NHS, giving the ruling an average rating of 2 on a scale of 0 (worst outcome) to 10 (best).

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