Social care fight heads to Westminster

Westminster cropped

MPs have been urged to back plans led by more than 100 groups for an independent review of what effect Brexit will have on health and social care

25th February 2019 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Charities are headed to London to call for an independent review of Brexit’s impact on health and social care.

Brendan O’Hara MP introduced a Private Member’s Bill at the House of Commons in November in response to concerns raised by the third sector.

Organisations fear that potential changes in rules, as a result of Brexit, related to the EU workforce, medicines research and funding could affect the provision of support and services to disabled people, people living with long term conditions, children and young people and unpaid carers.

So far, 101 organisations from across the UK have backed the calls for an independent assessment including the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE) and Camphill Scotland. The bill has also gained cross-party support from the Liberal Democrats, Labour, the Greens and Plaid Cymru.

On 26 February 2019, these organisations will meet MPs and Lords to express their concerns and encourage them to support the Private Members Bill and consider the wider impact of Brexit for the health and social care sector. 

The European Union Withdrawal (Evaluation of Effects on Health and Social Care Sectors) Bill was introduced to the chamber by the SNP member for Argyll and Bute, who is hoping for other members to show their support for staff in the health and social care sector.

Mr O’Hara said: “After all this time, we still don’t know what direction Brexit will take but we do know the potential impact on the health and social care sectors. 

“It is absolutely essential we have an independent assessment of the impact of Brexit on this vital sector.

“This has support right across the political spectrum, we can all see the potential consequences.  We need to make sure a mechanism exists to monitor it and both manage and mitigate it to prevent those most in need, feeling the harshest effects of a hard Brexit, no deal or otherwise”.

Anna Fowlie, chief executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), said: “If there’s one thing that’s clear about Brexit, it’s the potentially devastating impact on Scotland’s voluntary sector.  SCVO’s members operating in social care and health have been very vocal on the need for contingency plans based on a proper analysis.

“We are walking blind into a situation which affects medical research, the rights of disabled people and others, early access to medicines, EU nationals in our workforce and volunteering pool, all of which are vital to our communities.

"The clock is ticking, and the UK Government must do more to both gauge the impact Brexit will have on the health and social care sector and provide the support third sector organisations need to continue providing the services so many rely on."

Dr Neil Henery, director, Camphill Scotland, said: “Brexit could have a huge impact upon the Camphill communities in Scotland. Workers from other European nations make up around 40% of our total workforce. They play key roles in the provision of care, support and education to people with learning disabilities and other support needs. This Bill will safeguard Camphill and the health and social care sector in general by ensuring that planning and decision making post Brexit is informed by robust evidence and best practice”.

Professor Ian Welsh OBE, chief executive of the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE), said: “The combined impact of concerns about the impact of Brexit on health and social care has created an urgent need to evaluate the future and consider how we mitigate any unintended consequences.”