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Brexit uncertainty affecting morale of NHS staff from EU, say MPs

Morale among NHS staff from the European Union (EU) has been hit by the uncertainty of Brexit, the Health Select Committee has warned.
Brexit_tile_iStock.jpg

Morale among NHS staff from the European Union (EU) has been hit by the uncertainty of Brexit, the Health Select Committee has warned.

MPs said about 150,000 workers in health and social care faced an uncertain future because of the decision to leave the EU.

Some 60,000 people from EU countries work in the English NHS, with a further 90,000 in adult social care roles.

Prime minister Theresa May has said she will not give a guarantee on the rights of EU citizens in the UK until reciprocal protection is offered for Britons in other European countries.

'No place left to turn'

The committee said: 'The impact of Brexit on the morale of R-EU [the remaining 27 members of the European Union] staff is concerning and

Morale among NHS staff from the European Union (EU) has been hit by the uncertainty of Brexit, the Health Select Committee has warned.


There has been no guarantee on the rights of EU workers post-Brexit. Picture: iStock

MPs said about 150,000 workers in health and social care faced an uncertain future because of the decision to leave the EU.

Some 60,000 people from EU countries work in the English NHS, with a further 90,000 in adult social care roles.

Prime minister Theresa May has said she will not give a guarantee on the rights of EU citizens in the UK until reciprocal protection is offered for Britons in other European countries.

'No place left to turn'

The committee said: 'The impact of Brexit on the morale of R-EU [the remaining 27 members of the European Union] staff is concerning and the uncertainty they face is unwelcome.

'Difficulties in negotiating the process of applying for permanent residency in the UK and bureaucratic hurdles such as the requirement for comprehensive sickness insurance all add to the concerns of EU workers and their families.

'The government's plan for our post-Brexit future should both ensure that health and social care providers can retain and recruit the brightest and best from all parts of the globe, and that the value of the contribution of lower paid health and social workers is recognised.'

RCN general secretary Janet Davies said the report left the government with 'no place left to turn'.

Soaring numbers exiting 

'Theresa May has been told by this cross-party group that failing to give EU nursing staff and others the right to stay will harm the NHS,' she said.

She added: 'In this election, all political parties must reassure EU nursing staff working in the NHS and social care that they are needed, valued and welcome.

'The failure to do so means soaring numbers are heading for the door. We can ill afford to lose their skills.'

The cross-party committee also warned that the impact of Brexit on the healthcare of Britons living in or travelling to the EU 'should not be underestimated', with threats to the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) and challenges for pensioners living on the continent.


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