RCGP Chairwoman Weighs in on European Union Debate

The chairwoman of the Royal College of General Practitioners, Dr Maureen Baker, has hit out over the NHS spending claim made by supporters of Britain’s Brexit.

Baker warned MPs who supported it that they would be held to account.

House of Commons health select committee chair Dr Sarah Wollaston, who abandoned the leave campaign ahead of the referendum in protest at ‘shameful’ claims on NHS funding, also warned on ‘leave’ campaigners that she would take steps to address the situation.

Wollaston indicated that she would be addessing those who form part of a post-referendum government how they plan to honour the £350 million pledge.

And the MP noted on Twitter that she would be asking in the commons “when and how this pledge will be honoured”.

Health minister Alistair Burt backed her calls, warning there would be a veritable queue of people demanding answers.

Controversy continues to reign over the £350 million claim, with major leave campaigner Nigel Farage having distanced himself from this figure already.

Meanwhile, Brexit campaigner and senior Conservative Iain Duncan Smith has stated that the figure should be a decision for the government.

Duncan Smith commented that “a significant amount” of funding previously given to the EU could top up NHS funding, but admitted “it was never the total” £350 million that would go to the health service.

Critics have said that posters used by the ‘leave’ campaign suggested the full amount would go to the NHS, and certainly this figure was at least repeated by the media during the campaign.

Fallout from the EU referendum result has left not just the Conservative party, but also Labour in disarray as senior members of the shadow cabinet – including shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander – quit over the weekend.

And there has already been a significant impact from Brexit, with both the pound and FTSE falling.

Whether the NHS and public services can garner any benefit from the EU exit remains to be seen.

 

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