Brexit scares European midwives and nurses into leaving the UK

Published:  3 Nov at 6 PM
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Tagged: USA, UK, Italy, Euro, England
A double whammy of departing UK-trained medics as well as European midwives and nurses is putting the NHS in danger of a serious staff shortage.

A sharp drop in the number of midwives and nurses arriving to work in the UK combined with a record number of qualified medics returning to their home countries is forcing the NHS to admit to a real danger of staff shortages. The numbers of qualified medical professionals leaving the UK due to Brexit are up by 67 per cent, according to the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Healthcare trade union leaders are warning the combination should set loud alarm bells ringing in parliament as the situation is a double whammy for both patients and remaining staff.

The figures confirm fears the referendum result would cause NHS chaos as large numbers of essential medical staff would leave rather than endure the uncertainty surrounding the Brexit negotiations. From 2012 to October 2016, just under two thousand Spanish registered health professionals joined the NHS every year but, during the year from October 2016 to 2017, only 104 joined the register.

The story is the same for health professionals from Romania, Italy and Portugal, leaving the NHS in dire circumstances, with home-grown medical professionals now in shorter supply due to the high cost of student loans. It’s not just support services professionals who’re giving up and going home, as figures show up to 10,000 EU expat doctors and highly qualified nurses have quit since the referendum.

Concerns are now growing about the safety of Britain’s grossly understaffed hospitals and clinics, with even the government being forced to take notice. Shadow Home Secretary Jonathan Ashworth told the media it’s staggering that numbers are falling fast when it’s obvious that more, not less, medical professionals are urgently needed.

The chief analyst at the King’s Fund health think-tank now has major concerns about patient safety due to the massive fall in numbers of fully trained and qualified nurses. Training British nurses, he said, takes a long time and will be totally unable to meet the present-day NHS’s short-term needs and those of its patients.
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