RCN calls for reassurances that EU nurses can remain in the UK

The RCN tells the government that it must secure the rights of EU nurses to live and work in the UK following the Brexit vote 

The government must secure the right of European nurses working in the NHS to remain in the UK, according to the RCN ahead of a House of Lords debate today. 

The government is yet to guarantee the rights of EU nationals in the UK – which include 33,000 nurses – in the wake of June's Brexit vote.

The House of Lords will debate the impact of the Brexit vote on safe staffing levels in the NHS today.

Unfair ambiguity

RCN general secretary Janet Davies has said it is vital that EU nurses are supported to stay.

‘Allowing this ambiguity about our NHS workforce to continue is a completely unfair way of treating people who are caring for our friends and families every single day,' she said.

‘It may also prompt many to leave the UK, making it even harder for the NHS to provide safe patient care.’

NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens has already urged the government to provide early reassurance to foreign NHS employees.

NMC figures

Figures from the Nursing and Midwifery Council show there are more than 33,000 EU nurses registered to work in the UK. The RCN today highlighted that is more than the total number of nurses working in Wales (25,643).

More than 9,000 EU nurses joined the NMC’s register in 2015/16, a 21% increase on 2014-15.  

The RCN said the figures highlight the importance of EU nurses to the provision of safe care in the NHS. 

Act now

Ms Davies added: ‘The government must act now and develop a coherent and sustainable workforce strategy for the future that recognises the critical contribution of overseas nurses as well as the pressing need to educate, recruit and retain a home-grown nursing workforce.’

Peers in the Lords will also today debate the impact the government’s plan to scrap the nursing bursary will have on the workforce.

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