An assembly committee in Wales has delivered a harsh warning on the potential impact of Brexit on recruitment in the nation.
The Welsh NHS Confederation suggests that the decision of the British people to exit the European Union was likely to have a direct influence over the ability of the NHS to recruit professionals.
This is particularly true due to the diminishing value of sterling, according to the confederation.
Both health and social care systems will struggle to recruit and function in the ensuing climate.
In order to meet the growing demand for healthcare in Wales, the Welsh NHS confederation asserts that long-term workforce planning will be essential.
Official figures already demonstrate that the NHS in Britain is hugely reliant on European Union and other overseas healthcare workers.
Figures for March 2016 indicate that 30% of NHS doctors in Wales were non-British.
The confederation believes that Brexit will have a profound impact over the way that the NHS operating whales.
“Some services may become unsustainable with the difficulties which health boards have recruiting potentially being compounded. Our reliance on EU workforce has increased in the last few years, probably due to tightening of UK immigration policy on non-EU workers. The priority after Brexit should be to ensure that the UK can continue to recruit and retain much needed health and social care staff from the EU and beyond, while increasing the domestic supply, through robust workforce planning.”
The Wales Deanery, which is responsible for medical training in the nation, indicated that it is already experiencing difficulties in recruiting for Welsh hospitals.
General practice, psychiatry and emergency medicine are set to be particularly affected, with British healthcare professionals and students typically unwilling to train in such disciplines.
It is hoped by the deanery that new immigration rules will enable doctors from the Eurozone countries to remain working in Wales after Brexit has been initiated.
“If we cannot recruit and retain EU doctors in Wales we will need to look to other parts of the world or train more Welsh domiciled students and encourage them to undertake their postgraduate training here in Wales with comprehensive incentive packages (financial and non-financial) to continue to work in Wales for a defined period of time,” the deanery concluded.
The Royal College of Emergency Medicine in Wales also suggested that the lack of “senior and middle grade medical staff in A&E departments to deliver effective and efficient care alongside too little training places”.
It was also asserted by the organisation that the fall in value of sterling is having a detrimental impact on the pay of consultants, with Britain now ranked 10th out of 28 EU nations in this area.