I congratulate my hon. Friend on his election. His experience as an A&E doctor will, I am sure, pay dividends here. I promised my office that I would make no jokes about his scrubbing up well as a new Member of Parliament.
Ministers from the Department for Exiting the European Union continue to hold regular discussions with Health and Social Care Ministers. The NHS is, of course, of the utmost importance to the Government. As was outlined in the Queen’s Speech, the national health service’s multi-year funding settlement, which was agreed earlier this year, will be enshrined in law for the first time ever.
I thank the Minister for that response. I know that my constituents in Crewe and Nantwich are delighted to see the deadlock broken and the good progress that we are making toward delivering Brexit responsibly by the end of the month. Does he agree that significant measures have rightly been taken to ensure the continued flow of medicines after Brexit, and that the NHS will continue to be a fantastic place for EU citizens to work in years to come?
The Government are moving forward on the implementation of the withdrawal agreement, and we are confident that the deal will be ratified on 31 January. Under the terms of the agreement, we will enter the implementation period following 31 January, during which medical supplies will continue to flow as they do today. My hon. Friend makes a good point about EU nationals working in the health service. Since the referendum, almost 7,300 more European nationals have been working in NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups, which should be welcomed.
During the election, the Prime Minister promised 50,000 extra nurses. Given a one-third increase in EU nurses leaving the UK, does the Minister accept that the Prime Minister must ditch his anti-immigrant rhetoric, and that there must be improvements to the settlement scheme so that EU citizens feel both welcome and secure in the UK?
My German GP husband, who has been looking after patients for over 30 years, was quite offended by the Prime Minister criticising EU citizens treating this “as their own country”.
There has been a lot of concern about the possible increase in drug prices for the NHS under a US trade deal, but what estimate has been made of the increased bureaucratic customs costs for the 37 million packets of drugs that come from the EU every month?