Secret NHS cost-cutting plans revealed and Brighton’s hospital trust could lose up to 436 EU staff because of Brexit

Brighton’s hospital trust is under threat according to the Health Service Journal. Senior NHS officials have been told by the Conservatives to cut spending by closing wards and services, extending waiting times and stopping some medical treatments.

A controversial “capped expenditure process” is being discussed privately between top officials from NHS England and NHS Improvement and health managers in 14 areas of the country with the highest levels of overspending.

Surrey and Sussex is one of the NHS areas accused of overspending and told to think the “unthinkable.”

According to the Health Service Journal (HSJ) on Monday 05 June: “The principle of the process, introduced this year, is to ‘cap’ NHS spending in the targeted areas so that they meet ‘control total’ budgets in 2017-18.”

“The programme comes amid the longest ever sustained squeeze on the NHS budget, and with lower spending growth in 2017-18 than last year. These areas (14 including Surrey and Sussex) report gaps between plans and targets running into hundreds of millions of pounds, but NHSE and NHSI have not made public the total national gap.”

For this reason, Surrey and Sussex’s Brighton hospital campus could face even more ward closures, operations’ caps, longer waiting times, reductions in medical treatments, downgrading services like maternity and A&E, selling land and stopping prescriptions because of budget cuts.

Brighton and Sussex Universities Hospital Trust was placed in special measures when it declared a financial deficit of £60 million last October and is expected to end the year with a deficit of £60 to £70 billion. On 25 April this year, 42 inspectors from the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the healthcare watchdog, returned to the trust for three days.

Earlier in April Marianne Griffiths took over running the trust along with a team from Western Sussex Hospitals. She was appointed because the challenges that she had overcome merging St Richard’s, in Chichester, with Worthing and Southlands to form Western and dealing with a £21 million deficit meant that she had relevant experience. Western Sussex Hospitals is one of only five acute hospital trusts to be rated outstanding by CQC.

Mrs Griffiths said that she had agreed a breathing space with regulators and one monthly monitoring meeting to assess progress.

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Added to their financial problems, the Lib Dems warn the NHS in Brighton could lose up to 436 staff from the EU because of Theresa May’s extreme version of Brexit including 61 doctors and 171 nurses.  Over half of all doctors and 42% of nurses from the EU are considering leaving because of Brexit, according to recent research published on Dispatches in March this year.

Channel Four reported that Conservative plans would create a £4.5m bill to re-hire local doctors and nurses and other support workers in the NHS from the EU after 2019. Theresa May plans to double the ‘immigration skills charge’ to £2000 per year for each doctor, nurse and health worker brought into the NHS or any other company from abroad by 2022.

Full figures on the number of EU nationals by local NHS trust and estimates of those considering leaving the UK because of Brexit can be found in the Channel 4 Survey for Dispatches in March this year.

Projected cost of £4.36 million to pay immigration skills charge for 5 years when 40% of EU nationals (436) may leave based on Channel 4 dispatches survey (13 March 2017)

In their manifesto, Lib Dems will immediately guarantee the rights of all EU nationals working in the NHS and social care and commit to add a penny on income tax for the basic, higher and additional rates of income tax. They want to raise enough money to protect the NHS. You can read about the Lib Dem plans for the NHS and social care workforce here.Liberal Democrats have called for an immediate guarantee that all EU nationals in the UK, including those working in the NHS and social care, can stay after Brexit.

Emily Tester, Lib Dem candidate for Brighton Kemptown said: “Hospitals in our city depend on doctors, nurses and other support staff from the EU. But many are now planning to leave because of the uncertainty caused by Brexit.

“We must guarantee their rights to stay here immediately to prevent a damaging exodus of these skilled and hard-working people. Our NHS, and the care we all rely on, would suffer without them.”


Lib Dem Parliamentary Candidate for Kemptown Emily Tester


Labour will raise £30 billion for the NHS nationally by increasing income tax for the highest 5% of taxpayers earning £80,000 or more per year. (Media presenters have expressed concern about likely tax evasion by high earners and questions whether Labour will manage to raise £30 billion.)

Like the Lib Dems, the Green Party will introduce an “NHS Tax”, earmarked to increase direct funding of the NHS as part of general income and other taxation.

Conservatives have only committed to a ‘real terms’ increase of only £8 billion in their manifesto in the next Parliament until 2022 which was the minimum expenditure recommended by the King’s Fund at the last 2015 election. (See page 66 of the Conservative manifesto.)