Brexit: I woke up this morning and the world had changed

By John Tingle

I voted in the referendum yesterday along with many others. The referendum turnout was 71.8%, with more than 30 million people voting. It was the highest turnout in a UK-wide vote since the 1992 general election.

My area, Broxtowe in Nottingham where I live, voted to leave the EU, 54.6%, 35754 votes, remain 45.4% 29672 votes. I live in the East Midlands, Middle England. Deep regional divisions have been laid bare by this referendum. It was notable that London largely voted to stay in the EU whereas in my region there was a notable push to leave, 58.5%.The  referendum result shows British politics has, according to the Guardian newspaper, fractured beyond all recognition since the last referendum on Europe in 1975.

The issues around EU membership have been hotly debated and there was a high level of public interest in what went on. Immigration has been the dominant theme in many areas and health along with a number of other issues has also come up. At this moment we are in a post referendum, after shock stage and picking through the fallout to see what is happening and what is going to happen. People are happy, sad and anxious over the result.It was not that long after the vote was announced by the BBC that our Prime Minister David Cameron said he was going to stand down in October, that was a lot to take in so soon after the result. Looking at some of the posts on Facebook it is striking how many young people feel a sense of betrayal by the vote to leave the EU. Many seem to harbour a deep sense of resentment that they have been robbed of a future by an elder generation, it’s the baby boomers against the millennials.

“According to the last YouGov poll before the referendum, 72% of 18 to 24-year-olds were in favour of a Remain vote, while just 19% backed Brexit.In contrast, 34% of pensioners were in favour of Remain, while 59% favoured Brexit.”

The overarching message from today is that it is too early to tell how things might go in the future.The message from Prime Minister David Cameron and others is that things will take some time to unravel with the EU. Some commentators have been saying that it may be two years or more before things are finally sorted out.The remaining EU members however may not be that keen on the UK taking its time and there may be pressure from Europe to speed up our exit from EU. As things stand at this moment we are still in the EU and its business as usual, more or less until the legal process to leaving is activated. It’s too early to say what the future might hold.

On health and Brexit there are many doctors and nurses in our hospitals from EU countries:

“Around 17,000 (17,138) nurses and health visitors are from EU countries accounting for 6 per cent of the total staffing numbers. The figure for doctors is even higher with just under 10,000 hospital doctors coming from EU countries – around nine per cent of the total.”

From Facebook posts that I have seen today from people from other EU countries now based in the UK, many are feeling vulnerable and are worrying about their future. The Prime Minister in his address today was at pains to reassure them that they are very valued and welcome: There are a number of resources on Health and Brexit and they focus on things such as the loss of EU funding for research funding, innovation and impact on recruiting staff. It has been a very emotional and historic day for us all in the UK. A day that will always be remembered  as the day we left the EU.


John Tingle

John Tingle is a regular contributor to the Bill of Health blog. I am a Lecturer in Law, Birmingham Law School, University of Birmingham, UK; and a Visiting Professor of Law, Loyola University Chicago, School of Law. I was a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School in November 2018 and formerly Associate Professor at Nottingham Law School, Nottingham Trent University in the UK. I have a fortnightly magazine column in the British Journal of Nursing where I focus on patient safety and the legal aspects of nursing and medicine. I have published over 500 articles and a number of leading texts in patient safety and nursing law. My current research interests are in global patient safety, policy and practice, particularly in African health care systems. My most recent publication is: "Global Patient-Safety Law Policy and Practice," edited by John Tingle, Clayton O'Neill, and Morgan Shimwell, Routledge 2018.

2 thoughts to “Brexit: I woke up this morning and the world had changed”

  1. Indeed the world has changed and this day will be remembered in the history of man-kind in modern era. For EU health practitioners, it is a worrying situation but other countries who are out of EU are speculating job opportunities. Second referendum was a ray of hope but it has already been ruled out.

  2. World is changed? Where? Only in people’s minds. Majority was on referendum. Majority who follows and always will. I’m from Germany. Preparing project about EU and its flaws. Making project about which will be self-sustaining. Hope it will get more ”eyes” on it. Final release would be in 2 months tops. You can feel free to visite site when would be over and enter in discussion. Thank you

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