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5 Ways Brexit Could Effect Social Care…

Recent weeks have certainly been eventful for the UK in many ways, with the care industry featuring high on the list of hot topics.

Whilst it is too early to say what effect the referendum will have on the Care Industry, there is no doubt the vote for Brexit is having a huge effect on the UK’s currency and economy. Whilst this may or may not be a short term ‘knee jerk’ reaction by the markets we must be aware of and be preparing for the long term impacts of the Brexit on one of the country’s largest industries, the ‘Social Care Sector’.

1) Staffing

Brexit could potentially have a huge impact on this area, over 55000 of the NHS’s 1.3million staff members and 80000+ of the Adult Social Care workers are not UK born and hail from other EU countries.  Post Brexit these workers may be forced to return to their home nations leaving the UK with a massive staffing shortage with vacancy rates reported to be already at 5.4%.

The government will need to urgently clarify its position on EU national’s ability to work in the UK in the years after Brexit.  If not, the Care Sector will experience severe staffing shortages with major impacts on the Industries ability to provide the required high levels of care for our elderly.

2) Funding & Finance

The vote Leave campaign have been arguing that the EU was costing the UK £350 million per week, money they said could be pumped into the Care Sector and in particular the NHS.  Whilst the leading figures in the Leave campaign have moved to distance themselves from these claims post referendum there may well be additional funds allocated to boost the sector that would have otherwise gone to the EU.

3)  Government Policy Changes

During the pre-referendum campaign the chancellor said that if the UK were to vote for Brexit there would need to be further cuts to public spending.  Whilst these cuts may or may not happen the adult social care sector cannot afford to suffer any more cuts to already over stretched budgets.  Consequences of further cuts would likely include increased home closures and further cuts to vital NHS budgets both of which will have huge knock-on effects for the wider industry and its ability to cope with the demands placed upon it.

4) European Research and New Treatments

The EU has a vast system for surveillance and providing early warning of diseases including the rapid sharing of information and expertise in response to potential pandemics - will the UK still be part of this vital early warning system?

The EU has also been able to access and draw together talent and funding for significant scientific research into new drugs and treatment methods, something which no single nation would have been able to undertake independently, indeed according to the EU the UK itself has been the recipient of 8.8 Billion Euros for research and development. This kind of cooperation and flow of research funding and talent is vital and could be severely hampered by Brexit until new agreements can be established.

5)  Economic Devaluation

A number of industries have been effected by the economic and financial instability post the referendum result.  Continued uncertainty could effect the number of care homes being built across the UK with the obvious knock on effect of reduced care places and additional strain on home care services.

The devaluation of the British Pound will have continued effects for organisations who currently do and are looking to procure from abroad and in particular the European Union with prices likely to rise on a number of care critical products placing further strain on the finances of care institutions.

Conclusion

Whilst there is no doubt that the result of the referendum has left the UK in a state of uncertainty there is no way to tell the long term effect leaving Europe on the economy.  The issues identified in this article are just a small selection of the questions that remain unanswered and only time will prove how much or how little the result will have on the economy.