Brexit and the NHS: Voting Behaviour and Views on the Impact of Leaving the EU

Catherine Robinson, Stephen Drinkwater

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines three aspects of Brexit with regards to the NHS. Firstly, we consider the influence of views regarding one the most contentious issues in the referendum campaign: Vote Leave’s claim that the ‘savings’ from EU membership could alternatively be used to provide additional funding for the NHS. We find that views about NHS underfunding had a relatively small, but statistically significant, effect on leave voting even after controlling for a range of socio-demographic and economic variables. However, the magnitude of this effect is reduced and becomes insignificant when health-related and cultural controls are added. Secondly, we examine how NHS workers voted relative to others in employment, and find that a relatively high proportion were actually leave voters. Finally, we analyse whether individuals thought that Brexit would have a positive or negative impact on the NHS, as well as the reason/reasons for their view. We find that supporters of the Conservative party were by far the most likely to think that Brexit would be good for the NHS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)557-578
Number of pages21
JournalBritish Politics
Early online date17 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2023

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