LONDON: The head of NHS England on Wednesday warned that voters would lose faith in politics unless the Brexit campaign pledge to funnel £350 million a week to public health services was honoured after leaving the EU.
The official Leave campaign provoked anger when it splashed the contested claim that Britain's EU exit would free up £350 million ($460 million, 395 million euros) every week for the state-funded NHS service across its campaign bus, which carried leading campaigners such as Boris Johnson around the country.
"The NHS wasn't on the ballot paper, but it was on the Battle Bus. Vote Leave for a better-funded health service -- £350 million a week," Simon Stevens told the NHS Providers conference in Birmingham, central England.
"Rather than our criticising these clear Brexit funding commitments to NHS patients -- promises entered into by Cabinet ministers and by MPs -- the public want to see them honoured.
"Trust in democratic politics will not be strengthened if anyone now tries to argue: 'You voted Brexit, partly for a better-funded health service. But precisely because of Brexit, you now can't have one," he added.
Foreign Secretary Johnson in September revived the much-derided referendum campaign pledge, which is roughly equivalent to the gross amount Britain pays into the EU budget without taking into account what it receives.
"We would not expect to pay for access to their markets any more than they would expect to pay for access to ours," Johnson wrote.
"And yes -– once we have settled our accounts, we will take back control of roughly £350 million per week," he said.