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Leaving the EU would leave the NHS facing a real economic "challenge" and could result in foreign doctors leaving Britain, Jeremy Hunt has warned. The Health Secretary has said a vote for Brexit in June would lead to a loss of investment, “truly...

Jeremy Hunt accused of 'scaremongering' as he warns Brexit would put NHS at risk

Leaving the EU would leave the NHS facing a real economic "challenge" and could result in foreign doctors leaving Britain, Jeremy Hunt has warned. The Health Secretary has said a vote for Brexit in June would lead to a loss of investment, “truly...

Jeremy Hunt accused of 'scaremongering' as he warns Brexit would put NHS at risk

Leaving the EU would leave the NHS facing a real economic "challenge" and could result in foreign doctors leaving Britain, Jeremy Hunt has warned.

The Health Secretary has said a vote for Brexit in June would lead to a loss of investment, “truly undermine the public finances” and “inevitably mean less money” for the NHS.

Mr Hunt's comments have been attacked by Leave campaigners who have accused the government of "scaremongering" and forcing Cabinet members into telling "demeaning scare stories."

NHS  Photo: PA

Writing in the Observer, Mr Hunt predicted that the economic shock caused by Brexit could starve the cash-strapped health service of investment.

Some of the 100,000 foreign EU citizens on the workforce could also quit the country amid "uncertainties" over the status of visas and work permits, he said in the Observer.

Tory MPs have been quick to seize upon Mr Hunt's latset warning.

How many more colleagues will be forced into absurd and demeaning scare stories. Very sad. #Brexit #EUreferendum #EUref

— Dr Liam Fox MP (@LiamFoxMP) March 26, 2016

Stewart Jackson, a Tory MP said: "Jeremy Hunt has to explain how uncontrolled EU migration and Turkish EU accession will help an overstretched NHS on his watch and afterwards."

And the former cabinet minister Liam Fox added: "How many more colleagues will be forced into absurd and demeaning scare stories? Very sad."

Mt Hunt wrote leaving the EU would "inevitably mean less money for public services like the NHS.

The first investigation report is due on Monday  Photo: CLARE KENDALL

"Those who want to leave need to explain how they could protect the NHS from this economic shock.

"No savings can compensate for the economic volatility that would follow a vote to leave.

"Another issue is the damage caused by losing some of the 100,000 skilled EU workers who work in our health and social care system.

"Uncertainties around visas and residency permits could cause some to return home, with an unpredictable impact on hard-pressed front-line services.

The watchdog for foundation trusts said it would work with the trust to review the impact the practices may have had on patients  Photo: ALAMY

Matthew Elliott, chief executive of Vote Leave, also attacked Mr Hunt's comments.

"Does this government's scaremongering know no bounds?" he asked.

"Under Jeremy Hunt's stewardship, the NHS has plummeted into a financial crisis.

"If we vote to leave we can stop wasting money on EU bureaucrats and instead spend our money on our priorities like the NHS."

Thousands of doctors take part in a demonstration in Westminster, central London in support of junior doctors over changes to NHS contracts

Stephen Dorrell, chairman of the NHS Confederation and former health secretary, said: "Jeremy Hunt’s article underlines the unavoidable fact that the economic uncertainty which everyone agrees would be caused by Brexit would bring a clear and present danger to sustainable funding for the NHS - undermining a service on which we all rely.

“It also reminds us that NHS patients are direct beneficiaries of the EU single market.

"Modern healthcare relies in the first instance on the dedication and professionalism of clinical staff, but it also relies on clinicians having access to the latest technologies and being fully integrated into the research community which generates them.

"EU research programmes and single market legislation have greatly strengthened European cooperation in this area with substantial benefits for both healthcare and employment in the UK. It is a simple fact that Brexit would put all this at risk."

Norman Lamb: gunning for the hippie vote. You're welcome to it, bro  Photo: Alban Donohoe

Norman Lamb MP, former Health Minister, said: “I don't agree with Jeremy over the current funding of the NHS. I've been very clear that I’d like to see the Government investing more in the NHS and social care.

“But we could not even have that debate if we vote to leave the European Union. Leaving Europe could be disastrous for our NHS and other public services.

“The sizeable negative impact on the economy will have an inevitable damaging knock-on effect on our ability to fund the NHS and social care. It is simply a risk we should not take.”

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