by Leon Duveen on 20 March, 2017
The Liberal Democrats have called for an “NHS Passport” to secure the rights of EU nationals working in the NHS, as figures have revealed a sharp rise in staff from the EU quitting the health service.
According to The Guardian, 2700 EU nurses quit the NHS in 2016 compared to just 1600 in 2014, a 68% increase. Doncaster & Bassetlaw Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (DBHT) did not responded to the freedom of information requests from The Guardian so local figures are not known.
Separate figures from the Royal College of Nursing have shown the number of EU nationals registering as nurses in England has dropped by 92%, while there are 24,000 nurse jobs unfilled in the NHS.
The Liberal Democrats have called for an immediate guaranteed right to live and work in the UK for all EU citizens working in NHS and care services, in a motion passed by members at the party’s Spring Conference this week.
Liberal Democrat spokesperson Leon Duveen commented:
“These figures show you can’t have a hard Brexit and a strong NHS.
“The Conservative Government’s heartless and divisive approach to Brexit risks driving away the hard-working nurses and doctors on which our local hospitals rely.
“At the same time, the Government’s reckless decision to abolish bursaries for student nurses has led to a huge fall in the number of people studying to become nurses.
“This is creating a perfect storm for local NHS services that are already struggling to recruit the staff they need.
“We are already seeing DBHT having to back services at our local Hospital because of a lack of nurses to staff them, not giving the EU nurses here the security they need for their future will mean even more will leave making the situation even worse
“Theresa May must do the decent thing and let for EU nationals in Bassetlaw stay, with an immediate guarantee for those working in health and social care.”