Health Governance after Brexit: Law, Language and Legitimacy

Project start date: February 2019
Project duration: 2 years
Funding awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council

Project Information

Professor Tamara Hervey, from the University of Sheffield’s School of Law, is leading a two-year project with Queen’s University Belfast looking at post-Brexit governance in an area that was critical in the referendum debates: health and the NHS. The project is part of the ESRC's Governance after Brexit programme.

The project team is Professor Hervey; Dr Matthew Wood (University of Sheffield's Department of Politics) and Dr Mark Flear (Queen's University Belfast's School of Law); and Dr Ivanka Antova, Research Fellow.

Guided by co-producers from the health policy sector, we are analysing the implications for health and the NHS of new post-referendum legal texts as they emerge. We are also gathering views from the public in the North of England and Northern Ireland using ‘hit and run’ street conversations – a novel form of ethnographic research.

Project Aims

We are comparing the legal language, the elite language used in health contexts, and the language of the public, focusing on metaphors and stories, to uncover the extent to which post-Brexit health governance can be said to be legitimate.

Work to date

Tamara Hervey's evidence session at the Joint Committee for Health of the Oireachtas, 6 November 2019 (link)

Tamara Hervey's opening statement for the Joint Committee for Health of the Oireachtas, 6 November 2019 (PDF)

Assessing the Health Effects of a No-deal Brexit (BMJ article)

Guardian letter: 'A no-deal Brexit under Boris Johnson remains a threat to public health' (link)

Brexit's implications for dialysis poster: Darcy Foster and Tamara Hervey (PDF)

Kidney Care UK Post Brexit Dialysis Scenario (PDF)                                                                        

Kidney Care UK Dialysis Abroad After Brexit: Summary (PDF)

Kidney Care UK Dialysis Abroad After Brexit: Detailed Analysis (PDF)

Project report August 2019 - read here (PDF)

'Brexit and Biobanking: GDPR perspectives' chapter summary (PDF)

Kidney Care UK: Concern for dialysis patients who wish to travel in Europe after Brexit


Professor Tamara Hervey's co-authored article features in BBC news (link)


We are working closely with several external collaborators including:

Health and the NHS remain critical to public and elite understandings of EU membership and what will be possible outside of the EU.
We are studying the unfolding post-Brexit legal settlement to see its impact on health, and what experts and the public think about its meaning and significance.

Professor tamara hervey

Tammy Hervey