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Study reveals doctors political views as BMA backs Brexit final say

Published on 31/07/18 at 10:07am

The London-based British Medical Association (BMA), which represents 156,000 doctors and 19,000 medical students, is supporting calls for a ‘final say’ on the Brexit deal.

The support has come as a study published in the BMA’s academic journal, the BMJ Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, has revealed that the overwhelming majority of British doctors believe that Brexit will have a substantial negative impact on the NHS.

The study illustrated that when nearly 1,200 doctors were asked to evaluate the extent to which Brexit will have a positive impact on the NHS, the median score was 2 out of 10, with 0 representing the ‘worst impact’ and 10 signifying the ‘best impact’ as defined by the respondents themselves.  

Dr Kate Mandeville, who led the study from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, commented that: “Doctors are amongst the best placed people to understand the impact of political decisions on the NHS. On Brexit their opinion is very clear: Brexit is bad for the nation’s health.”

The study also reported that of those polled, 79.4% had voted to remain in the EU in the 2016 referendum. Overall the profession was determined to be left leaning, as 60.5% of respondents described themselves as left wing, while 62.2% described themselves as liberal.

 10.1136/jech-2018-210801

The study further shed light onto the political leanings of those individuals working in different medical disciplines as it noted that increasing levels of income were associated with more right wing views. The investigation demonstrated that while being a surgeon doubled the chances that an individual would be more right wing, psychiatrists and public health doctors were half as likely to score as right wing in the BMJ poll. Of those polled only 23.6% of doctors described themselves as conservative while 6% used an alternative descriptive terms such as ‘socialist’ or ‘libertarian’.

In regards to policy 65.8% thought there was too much use of NHS funded private sector provision in their medical practice while 98.6% agreed that EU nationals working in the NHS should be able to remain in the UK after Brexit.

Louis Goss

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