The British Medical Association (BMA) has come out in support of Birmingham consultant neurologist David Nicholl who has been accused of ‘fearmongering’ about the health care implications of a no-deal Brexit.
On Monday, Dr Nicholl called Nick Ferrari’s live LBC radio show, on which House of Commons leader and Brexit supporter Mr Jacob Rees-Mogg was speaking.
Dr Nicholl voiced his concerns about drug shortages and asked Mr Rees-Mogg what excess mortality he would be willing to accept in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The cabinet member replied: “I’m surprised that a doctor in your position would be fear-mongering in this way on public radio.
“I think it is deeply irresponsible, Dr Nicholl, of you to call in and try and spread fear across the country. I think it is typical of remainer campaigners, and you should be quite ashamed I’m afraid.”
The BMA has come out in support of Dr Nicholl. BMA council chair Chaand Nagpaul said: “Individuals such as Dr Nicholl who, with vast experience and clinical judgement and after careful consideration, decide to speak out, should be supported and listened to, not dismissed and insulted by those in positions of responsibility and power.”
By speaking up on behalf of his patients, Dr Nicholl had acted profoundly responsibly. And far from ‘fearmongering’, he was raising concerns which were widely and justifiably held among doctors, Dr Nagpaul said.
Mr Rees-Mogg’s response to Dr Nicholl was a factor cited by the former minister and GP Phillip Lee in his decision to leave the Conservative Party for the Liberal Democrats. He said his former colleague had shown “disdain and disregard”.