A potential influx of UK citizens returning from Europe after Brexit could place additional demand on the NHS who may need to invest in around 1,000 more beds for hospitals in Scotland.
That’s according to a new report from Scotland’s Health and Sport Committee, which warns of the implications of the S1 scheme being lost, which currently means UK citizens living in other European Union states are entitled to free or low cost healthcare.
The report warned that the loss of the scheme could be “significant” for Scotland. It read: “It has been estimated an additional £500 million would be required to care for the people returning to the UK and it has been hypothesised the NHS would need an additional 1,000 hospital beds.
“This could also have an impact on social care in Scotland with more care home beds required should Scottish citizens return home.”
Another prime concern in the report is that technology companies and firms supplying medical equipment currently based in the UK may face an incentive to leave the country post-Brexit.
It said: “The turnover of the British medical device technology industry is £17bn, 6% of the global market, so any losses would have a large impact on the UK economy.”
The report also raised concern about how medical devices are regulated in the wake of Britain leaving the EU, which could impact on both manufacturers and distributors of equipment.
It said that by leaving the EU the UK will no longer have an influence in shaping legislation, policy and regulatory procedures and would be “relegated to an observer role”.
“The British Standards Institution notes there are some harmonised standards developed solely to meet European market needs.
“It goes on to assert it is imperative that the UK does not lose its influence over their development post-Brexit. It considers any loss would “undoubtedly impact business and trade.”