- Chris Morris
- Mar 3, 2017
- 1051 Views
New analysis suggests that NHS and adult social care services face a further crisis following the problems already caused by Brexit.
The onus is on the government to guarantee the right of the EU workers to remain in the UK, otherwise serious staffing problems are almost inevitable.
Existing figures outlined the extent of European Union workers within the healthcare system, with more than 140,000 NHS and adult social care workers in England currently EU migrants.
London, the South East and the East of England are most vulnerable to losing vital staff, according to research published by the Trade Union Congress.
And the capital city would be the hardest hit by any problems over EU staffing, undoubtedly a regrettable situation considering the demands on NHS services in London.
13% of adult social care workers and 9.8% of the NHS workforce in the capital are comprised of EU nationals.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady suggests that the government has been culpable for instigating a disastrous recruitment policy.
“The Government is creating appalling uncertainty for thousands of NHS workers and care workers. It’s a terrible way to treat dedicated public servants. And if Brexit means they have to leave, our health and social care services will struggle to cope,” TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said.
Indeed, research indicates that 7% of adult social workers and 4.5% of total NHS healthcare professionals could be affected; an extremely worrying number for the health service to deal with.
Yet MPs have already voted against an amendment to the Brexit bill that would guarantee the rights of 3 million EU nationals to remain after the country exits the European political union.
O’Grady believes that Prime Minister Theresa May should guarantees the right to remain before any negotiation on Brexit ensures.
“It’s the right thing to do. And it will regain some of the goodwill Britain needs to negotiate the best possible Brexit deal,” O’Grady opined.
The loss of healthcare professionals could be particularly damaging considering that social care spending has already been slashed by 20%, according to figures from Age UK.
Ian Robinson, Partner at Fragomen LLP, the world’s largest immigration law firm, spoke on the Brexit issue, and suggested that the general public is unaware of the scale of the problem.
“We’d had everyone from scientists to farmers to bankers worrying about access to labour after Brexit and now even the unions are chipping in. The Government can’t just sit back and say it will be fine, and that consultation will start when the time is right.”
Robinson called on the government to clarify the situation as soon as possible.
“We need an actual statement from the Prime Minister or Home Secretary – namely, a promise that businesses will get the workers they need after separation. The White Paper mentioned the brightest and best migrants but that isn’t enough. Businesses want to know that they will get the people they need across the labour market, not just at the top end.”