News

Postpone Brexit for the sake of our health and social care systems, unions tell PM

RCN calls for a People's Vote,  Unison warns of dire consequences if UK crashes out of EU

RCN calls for a People's Vote, Unison warns of dire consequences if UK crashes out of EU


Picture: iStock

The RCN is urgently calling on the government to extend the deadline for leaving the European Union (EU) after the prime minister's Brexit deal suffered a crashing defeat last night.

MPs rejected Theresa May's plans by an historic 230-vote majority, leaving the government floundering without a deal in place ahead of the UK's scheduled exit from the bloc on 29 March.

Other health leaders issued warnings about the consequences for the NHS of leaving the EU with no deal.

The RCN wants an extension of Article 50, the legal process that sets the timetable for Brexit. The college says an extension would give time for a so-called People's Vote on any final deal negotiated between the UK and the EU.

'Our members want a final referendum'

Acting general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair said: 'The RCN is calling urgently for the extension of Article 50 beyond 29 March to allow time for a People's Vote.

'Article 50 must now be extended to give politicians the best chance of coming up with a lasting deal that unites our divided country'

Dave Prentis, Unison general secretary

'RCN members voted at congress in June 2018 to lobby for a referendum on the final Brexit deal.'

The college says Brexit's implications for the health and care system are complex and may damage population health and hamper nurses' ability to provide safe and effective care.


Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison.
Picture: Barney Newman

'Crashing out would be a disaster for public services'

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis added: 'Crashing out of Europe at the end of March would be disastrous for jobs, wages and public services.

'Article 50 must now be extended to give politicians the best chance of coming up with a lasting deal that unites our divided country.

'The continuing uncertainty is putting people off coming here to work for our understaffed health services and failing to stem the flow of EU nationals who are leaving.'

A recent report for the Cavendish Coalition, a group of health and social care organisations that lobbies on Brexit-related issues, recently forecast worrying nursing workforce data.

This claimed that, by the end of the transition period alone, the NHS in England could be short of 51,000 nurses, enough to staff 45 hospitals.


Related material


In other news

This is a free article for registered users

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this? You can register for free access.

Jobs