Brexit and Cancer

A week on and it's not getting any better is it?

I'm trying to wake up everyday and be positive but I can find at least three news stories in three minutes which would be headline news on any other summer day, apart from June 2016. We've set fire to our own house and each day instead of water hoses and fire trucks, a Shell tanker full of premium unleaded arrives. 

I'm not going to rant about the result and political fallout, because there are far better people out there to do that (I'd follow @jimwaterson of Buzzfeed News, @juliamacfarlane of BBC Politics and @DavidAllenGreen FT law blogger for the latest good info) and it's changing by the second. Anything I write this Wednesday evening will be out of date if you're reading this on Thursday morning. Also I'm not a political hack I'm a travel one, and through circumstances detailed here a reluctant cancer specialist. So I'm focusing my anger and frustration on that. 

So if (and it's a big if) Brexit goes ahead and Article 50 is triggered what does that mean for us cancer folks? How will our treatment be affected?

Firstly, this tweet on Friday morning from the head of Barts HR got my attention:

Michael Pantlin @Michael_Pantlin

Our 1700 colleagues and friends from EEA@NHSBartsHealth need to know how much we value them today

7:14 AM - 24 Jun 2016

or all the bluster in the campaign about funding for the NHS, no one really talked about the staff. Ending freedom of movement will have serious consequences for the staffing of hospitals. This number quoted is only EEA staff by the way at *one* Trust, not including the many workers from West Africa and East Asia. As some of the nastier elements of the Leave vote think they've got a victory for the idea of forced repatriation, this is  really worrying if you are a patient or staff in the system.  I personally don't care where my doctors and nurses come from, I just want them to be well trained and enough of them not to be stressed and tired all the time.  Also I don't want them to fear getting abused on the way to work just because they might look or sound different. 

Already the Brexit vote is having an effect on NHS Staff recruitment

Secondly, pulling out of the EU will have serious implications on Cancer research  and co-operation as this article in the Indy points out

This is a potentially horrific outcome as science and particularly Cancer research is not about nerds hunkered down in individual sealed off labs anymore but constant collaboration and development. If that gets taken away then we're all the poorer for it.  The fairytale that the money we pay for the EU will now be spent on research was  nicely debunked  in a tweet by a consultant Neurosurgeon: 

Dr Anita M. Sharma (@ImAnitaSharma):

Ive spent my career working on cancer research; only pos by EU funding. I hope Brexiters realise devastation this will cause to medicine

 And thirdly, funding for the NHS and cancer treatment will be affected  as we've just probably put ourselves into a recession of our own making.

The cost of borrowing has just gone up as we've lost our AAA rating, Treasury income will certainly drop as contracts and work head overseas, cost of capital expenditure projects like new Hospitals  will rise, so the funding gap for the NHS will increase. Without the tax reciepts more Austerity and cuts to the NHS will happen, not less.  As I believe a lot of the Brexit  vote was gained on the genuine concern about the lack of GP and hospital provision, the irony of the Leave vote is that this will make matters a lot worse than better.  

None of this was due to our membership of the EU by the way, but on policies of our current government.  The EU was just a really good scapegoat. Add in a fact free campaign and notions of sovereignty and "Take our country back"  and you've got a lethal mix. 

As a cancer patient and likely to be one for a good while yet, I'm genuinely frightened about what we've just done. This will have a profound effect on cancer care and provision.  I don't think most who voted  Leave really understood the full implications of what was involved. We're just getting started on working out what it all means. In the meantime we have no effective government or opposition, and the house still continues to burn.

*End of Rant*

PS. I'm ok thanks. I'm enjoying this small window of opportunity to travel and I'm back at work full time.  I'm seeing my consultant next Thursday for a general check up and bloods, and getting my hearing aids fitted the week after that at Guys.

Currently I'm... Banging my head against the wall in disbelief....Also I liked Chvches set at Glasto.