Dentists in Glasgow City centre wearing rubber gloves look into little boys mouth as he lies on the dental chair.

Since the referendum result in June 2016, there has been a lot of speculation and debate on the effects it will have on various aspects of British life. One of the bigger worries is of course government funded institutions which vulnerable members of the public rely upon, such as the NHS. This worry is certainly justified since the UK health and care system is currently facing immense financial and functional struggles. As a nation, we have already suffered from vast cutbacks within in the NHS through staff shortages, bed shortages, operation cancellations and postponements, and at times waiting lists that take years to get in front of. Throw Brexit into the mix and we can only imagine the issues that will spring up as we face reality out with the EU. This article looks at the possible effects on health care and dentists in Glasgow city centre and the UK.

NHS Staffing Affected by Brexit

The UK currently benefits from the free movement of people within the EU which is a fundamental principle within the European Union Treaty allowing EU citizens to look for jobs in other EU countries. The function of the NHS relies upon EU staff with approximately a quarter of the total number of doctors working in Britain being non-UK nationals. In the wake of the Brexit vote, the NHS has already invited bids for £100 million contracts to recruit doctors from overseas.

Birds eye view of clinical room in dentists in Glasgow city centre.

Treatment Access Affected by Brexit

As well as staff issues, Brexit will likely result in access to certain medicines, research, clinical trials and networks to be removed. This means that we will not be permitted to early warning and response systems for potential public health threats. In addition, legal implications post-Brexit could mean that some patients could be denied access to cross-border healthcare. This is something the NHS has relied upon as at times the best possible clinical knowledge and expertise for specific conditions reside elsewhere in the EU. Access to these types of networks will need to be renegotiated and possibly denied.

Financial Issues Exacerbated by Brexit

Due to the staff issues and other negative effects, Brexit is likely to hold over the NHS, the UK can expect a growing financial crisis. The nation is already at risk of NHS privatisation, therefore Brexit anticipations point to the greater probability of this result. Should the NHS go private, the public will depend on an insurance system that will end with many unable to receive the treatment they need.

Three dentists in Glasgow city centre look at an x-ray in the light shining from a nearby window.

Dentists in Glasgow City Centre Affected by Brexit

In the UK currently, only children under the age of 18 receive free dental care, plus only basic dental care is covered by the NHS for adults. Anything over and above a recommended check-up will cost any adult who does not have private dental care (which is most people in the UK). The financial crisis caused by Brexit could result in even the basic NHS dental scheme being eliminated. This means that dentists in Glasgow city centre will charge people of all ages for any and all dental treatment, even a basic check-up. Not only will this raise the cost of living dramatically for everyone, but it will likely result in many people surrendering their dental care altogether in an attempt to save money.