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EU staff left uncertain of right to remain after Brexit

NHS staff need assurances they can stay long-term, MPs urge
Simon Stevens

MPs have criticised the government's 'failure' to give European Union workers – including nurses – a guarantee they can remain in the UK after it leaves the EU.

Responding to a written parliamentary question, junior home office minister James Brokenshire said while there would be 'no immediate change' for working rights of EU workers, their right to remain long-term would be a matter for the next Prime Minister.

The lack of clarity was roundly criticised in a House of Commons debate.

Not bargaining chips

Labour MP Gisela Stuart, who tabled the question, said EU nationals were 'not bargaining chips', and that not providing a guarantee was a ‘failure of the government to protect their people and future obligations’.

Health Select Committee and Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston said the EU workforce in the NHS – which includes 33,000 nurses – deserved job security.

Workforce crisis

‘They

MPs have criticised the government's 'failure' to give European Union workers – including nurses – a guarantee they can remain in the UK after it leaves the EU.

Responding to a written parliamentary question, junior home office minister James Brokenshire said while there would be 'no immediate change' for working rights of EU workers, their right to remain long-term would be a matter for the next Prime Minister.

The lack of clarity was roundly criticised in a House of Commons debate.

Not bargaining chips

Labour MP Gisela Stuart, who tabled the question, said EU nationals were 'not bargaining chips', and that not providing a guarantee was a ‘failure of the government to protect their people and future obligations’.

Health Select Committee and Conservative MP Sarah Wollaston said the EU workforce in the NHS – which includes 33,000 nurses – deserved job security.

Workforce crisis

‘They need security, not just now, but in the long term, because the workforce crisis is one of the biggest challenges facing the NHS,' Dr Wollaston said.

Meanwhile, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens announced he would be setting up an NHS team to work with the government to ensure health service workers and patients' needs were met in Brexit negotiations.

Hate crimes

Referring to a reported rise in hate crimes following the Brexit vote, Mr Stevens said EU workers should be protected from 'uglier impulses and reactions'.

'We should use this moment to let all our staff know how much we value their ongoing service,' he said in a letter to NHS staff.

‘As you yourself work alongside NHS team members from the EU and elsewhere this week, why not make it personal and reach out to them direct?’

 

 

 

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