“Brexit is costing us lives”

This is the claim from some of Hampshire’s doctors and nurses as part of an open letter to MPs detailing the “damage” leaving the EU is “inflicting on our treasured National Health Service”

Doctors Rosemary Coddington, Mirek Synek (both from Fareham), and Joanna McKenna (Winchester), as well as nurses Barbara Waas (Southampton), and Pournami Gopalakrishnapillai (Winchester) wrote to ministers ahead of the meaningful vote on March 12 – which is the official sign-off of the Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal.

Signatures were also added by healthcare workers Ligia Kasanin (Portsmouth), Robert Rowe (Southampton), and Tina Gericke (Winchester).

They claim that along with the funding issues the NHS is currently facing, the service is also overstretched due to the loss of thousands of European staff.

“As doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals from the South East, we see the damage Brexit is already inflicting on our treasured National Health Service,” they added.

“Make no mistake about it. Brexit is costing us lives.

“No one voted to leave the NHS overstretched and underfunded. We were promised an extra £350 million a week. But today, our NHS is facing a nightmare.

“The loss of thousands of European staff has led to crippling staff shortages.

“In the South East alone, nearly 52,000 doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals have come from the EU, according to data unearthed by Best for Britain and Tech for UK. EU staff make an invaluable contribution to our hospitals, helping provide the highest standard of care. So let’s be clear when we talk about EU staff leaving our hospitals. We are not just losing trusted colleagues. We are losing our friends.”

They are now calling on ministers to vote against Mrs May’s deal, which they claim will be “terrible” for the country.

The UK is meant to officially leave the EU on March 29.

“The government’s Brexit deal would be terrible for Britain and for patients’ health,” the letter adds.

“It would mean giving up access to nuclear isotopes for cancer treatment by leaving Euratom. And a “no deal” would be even worse. Instead of focusing on patient care, the NHS is having to stockpile medicines and even body bags. It is outrageous that the Government is still toying with a cliff-edge Brexit.

“We absolutely cannot allow Brexit to cause more damage than it already has. We will make our voices heard, and to stop the Government from running our world-class NHS into the ground.

“That’s why we urge our MPs to stop this harmful Brexit.”