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EU nurses are 'integral and vital', says England's chief nursing officer

Jane Cummings underlines the important role of EU nurses in the health service following uncertainties after UK's vote for Brexit.

England's chief nursing officer Jane Cummings has insisted that European Union nurses remain 'an integral and appreciated’ part of the NHS, in the wake of the UK's Brexit vote.

Jane Cummings
Jane Cummings: EU nurses 'are an integral part of the health and care family'

Latest workforce figures reveal that more than 1 in 20 NHS nurses working in England come from the EU.

Analysis of workforce statistics show that 21,032 NHS nurses and health visitors come from countries within the EU – or 7% of the total nursing workforce.

Uncertainty

With economists warning the leave vote could have a ‘huge impact’ on the NHS workforce, chief nurse Jane Cummings addressed the uncertainty in a direct message to EU nurses, midwives and healthcare assistants.

'You are an integral and vital part of the health and care family, and your skills and compassionate care directly benefit patients, families and communities,’ she said.

‘Your vital contribution to our work together will continue, you are appreciated by me, and most of all, by those we care for.'

It is not yet known what impact the leave vote will have on the free movement of workers between member states, or how professional qualifications will be recognised in future.

James Buchan, a workforce expert and professor in the faculty of health and social sciences at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, predicted before the referendum that a leave vote would result in a drop in nurses from EU countries.

#LoveOurEUStaff

EU workers were inundated with support on social media following the referendum result, with many Twitter users sending messages of solidarity using the #LoveOurEUStaff hashtag.

Unison head of nursing Gail Adams said EU staff must be made to feel valued, while the Royal College of Midwives said it would be seeking assurances on the future of the EU workforce.

The RCN, which remained neutral during the campaign, said it would work to ensure nursing voice was heard in future negotiations to leave the EU.

To read James Buchan's 'Brexit would only deepen NHS staffing crisis' article, click here

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