Your views

Readers Panel: Will Brexit put nurses at greater risk in the workplace?

EU health and safety legislation has offered greater protection to nurses and other NHS staff, including EU directives covering safe manual handling and sharps injuries. Nursing Standard readers panel has its say on what impact leaving the EU will have on health and safety in the workplace. 

EU health and safety legislation has offered greater protection to nurses and other NHS staff, including EU directives covering safe manual handling and sharps injuries. Nursing Standard readers panel has its say on what impact leaving the EU will have on health and safety in the workplace.

Stephanie Cumming, practice nurse, Warwickshire Stephanie Cumming

Following the referendum vote, the UK faces an uncertain future. Concerns have been raised about the loss of important legislation relating to health and safety, including EU directives covering safe manual handling and sharps injuries.

Whether nurses will be at greater risk in the workplace following Brexit is unclear, but these issues must be discussed by the government and employers. Leaving the EU must not compromise safety in the workplace. Employers have a responsibility to ensure nurses continue to be protected by policies and protocols so they can deliver care in a safe working

...

EU health and safety legislation has offered greater protection to nurses and other NHS staff, including EU directives covering safe manual handling and sharps injuries. Nursing Standard readers panel has its say on what impact leaving the EU will have on health and safety in the workplace.


Stephanie Cumming, practice nurse, Warwickshire
Stephanie Cumming

Following the referendum vote, the UK faces an uncertain future. Concerns have been raised about the loss of important legislation relating to health and safety, including EU directives covering safe manual handling and sharps injuries.

Whether nurses will be at greater risk in the workplace following Brexit is unclear, but these issues must be discussed by the government and employers. Leaving the EU must not compromise safety in the workplace. Employers have a responsibility to ensure nurses continue to be protected by policies and protocols so they can deliver care in a safe working environment.


Drew Payne, community staff nurse, London
Drew Payne
Drew Payne

Brexit could change nursing for the worse. EU directives have given us safer sharps practices and minimum health and safety requirements for manual handling, to name just two of the benefits in the workplace.

I began my nursing career before these changes came in and I do not want to go backwards. These EU laws have improved my working life, but whether we keep them is down to the government. We have heard nothing so far about protecting workers’ rights post-Brexit and keeping EU laws, and if another recession causes cuts in NHS funding, where will that leave us?


Daniel Athey, acute medical unit charge nurse, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust
Daniel Athey

EU legislation put in place to protect us is now up for discussion, which is undoubtedly a cause for concern. But my main fear is not about health and safety. Sick pay, maternity and paternity rights and annual and other types of leave will no longer be guaranteed.

Furthermore, I fear for those on zero hour contracts whose working conditions are likely to face the greatest change, and the tens of thousands of EU nurses and other staff who, after coming to the UK to contribute to the NHS, now face uncertain futures.


Rachel Kent, mental health nurse, Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust
Rachel Kent

The NHS functions on EU regulations which are thoroughly intertwined in our policies and infrastructure, so it would be impossible to abandon them overnight.

I am more concerned about the gradual erosion of some of the other protections we have under EU legislation, such as protection against unfair dismissals and the pathways provided to challenge abuses. This is where Brexit might prove costly to our workforce, and the NHS, in the long term.

Want to read more?

Subscribe for unlimited access

Enjoy 1 month's access for £1 and get:

  • Full access to nursing standard.com and the Nursing Standard app
  • Monthly digital edition
  • RCNi Portfolio and interactive CPD quizzes
  • RCNi Learning with 200+ evidence-based modules
  • 10 articles a month from any other RCNi journal

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs