New health coalition hopes to guarantee status of EU nurses

New coalition of health and social care experts hopes to guarantee status of EU staff in the sector as Britain prepares to leave the union.

A coalition of 29 health and social care organisations has been created to ensure enough nurses and other workers remain in place, as Britain withdraws from the European Union (EU).

The Cavendish Coalition, which includes the RCN, will lobby on post-EU referendum issues affecting the 144,000 EU workers in the health and social care workforce.

Post Brexit issues. Photo: iStock

RCN chief executive Janet Davies said: 'Our health and social care services have been relying on hardworking and talented EU nurses and others for many years and will continue to do so.

'The first priority must be to guarantee the futures of these committed EU staff in our health and care services.

'Allowing any ongoing ambiguity over their future is the wrong way of treating people who care for friends and family every day, and continues to make recruitment and retention even more difficult.'

Ms Davies added a comprehensive workforce strategy was needed to tackle the chronic shortage of health workers and called for investment in training more homegrown nurses.

'The coalition gives us an opportunity to address these issues collectively for the long term future of our patients and the populations we serve.'

Examining evidence

The new coalition has recently submitted evidence to a cross-party inquiry chaired by MP Gisela Stuart to examine options for guaranteeing the status of EU nationals currently living in the UK.

NHS Employers chief executive Danny Mortimer said: 'We will provide a focal point for engagement with relevant government departments and NHS arms-length bodies and regulators on the workforce issues arising from the Brexit vote.

He added that EU citizens were a hugely valued and appreciated part of the workforce caring for service users and patients and should be treated as such.

'The hard work begins now,' he said. 'First and foremost we need to influence and support the government in a way which allows it to grant indefinite leave to remain for the 144,000 EU workers in health and social care.'

Members of the Cavendish Coalition

  • Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, Margaret Willcox, vice president
  • Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, Professor Dame Sue Bailey DBE FRCPsych, chair
  • Association for Real Change, Lisa Lenton, England director
  • Association of UK University Hospitals, Peter Homa CBE, chair
  • British Medical Association, Dr Mark Porter, council chair
  • Care England, Professor Martin Green OBE, chief executive
  • Chartered Society of Physiotherapy, Karen Middleton CBE, chief executive
  • Mental Health Network, Rebecca Cotton, director of mental health policy
  • National Association of Primary Care, Dr Nav Chana, chairman
  • National Care Association, Nadra Ahmed OBE, chairman
  • New NHS Alliance, Merron Simpson, chief executive
  • NHS Clinical Commissioners, Julie Wood, chief executive
  • NHS Confederation, Stephen Dalton, chief executive
  • NHS Employers, Daniel Mortimer, chief executive
  • NHS European Office, Elisabetta Zanon, director
  • NHS Partners, David Hare, chief executive
  • NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, chief executive
  • Northern Ireland Confederation for Health and Social Care, Heather Moorhead, director
  • Pharmacy Voice, Elizabeth Wade, director of policy
  • Registered Nursing Home Association, Frank Ursell, chief executive
  • Royal College of Nursing, Janet Davies, general secretary
  • Shelford Group, Sir Michael Deegan, chair
  • Skills for Care, Sharon Allen, chief executive
  • The National Care Forum, Vic Rayner, executive director
  • The Royal College of Midwives, Professor Cathy Warwick CBE, chief executive
  • The Welsh NHS Confederation, Vanessa Young, director
  • Unison, Christina McAnea, head of health
  • United Kingdom Homecare Association, Bridget Warr CBE, chief executive
  • Voluntary Organisations Disability Group, Professor Rhidian Hughes, chief executive