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Brexit impact: UK’s NHS still faces funding challenges after referendum vote

Justin Chan | Special to CNBC
Frost & Sullivan: NHS funding issues go way back

The U.K.'s decision to leave the European Union (EU) is unlikely to ease the funding challenges already faced by the National Health Service (NHS), a healthcare expert told CNBC.

Rhenu Bhuller, Senior Vice President of Healthcare APAC at Frost & Sullivan told CNBC on Thursday that funding for the NHS is unlikely to be increased following Brexit, and that the NHS already has other existing difficulties to face.

On its website, the NHS said rising cost of services and greater number of people to cater to could see the publicly-funded healthcare system become unsustainable, and suffer a £30 billion funding gap nationally by 2020.

"I think it changes the game, I think they would have to be a lot more innovative in terms of how things are being done, but it (the Brexit referendum) doesn't mean that they would have more money to do things, that's not going to change," said Bhuller.

The funding of the NHS was one of the talking points raised by Brexiters during the pre-referendum campaign.

In Pictures Ltd | Corbis | Getty Images

A Reuters report on June 28 revealed that Lead Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage backtracked on disputed claims by the Leave campaign that an exit would allow the government to redirect 350 million pounds ($467.81 million) per week they alleged London sent to Brussels instead to the NHS.

According to Bhuller, the funding issues face by the NHS are not new, adding that "whether Brexit happened or not... they would still have had to look at ways to improve efficiency, look at different business models, moving health care from out of hospital or acute care and into primary care and more social care."

Bhuller's comments came after the Financial Times reported that Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, had called on the government to honor existing health service funding promises after the Brexit.

According to the FT, Stevens wrote to NHS staff to say that both the leave and remain camps had campaigned on stronger NHS funding, and that the public, no matter how they voted in the referendum, would expect the country's new leaders to deliver on that promise.

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