Controls on immigration? 96 per cent drop in number of EU nurses coming to Britain post-Brexit

NHS facing staffing crisis as international recruitment slumps

Just 46 nurses arrived in Britain from the EU in April of this year, feeding fears that the NHS will face a staffing crisis post-Brexit.

The figures obtained by the Health Foundation show a 96 per cent drop in admissions following the vote to leave the EU. In April 2016, nearly 1,200 European nurses arrived to work in the UK. Although arrivals reached a high in July of last year, with 1,304 nurses registering, by September that number had slumped to 344 and has continued to fall since.

‘The recruitment and retention of nurses is one of the biggest challenges facing health and social care, with a shortage of 30,000 nurses in England alone,’ commented Anita Charlesworth, Director of Research and Economics at the Health Foundation.

While the NHS has been able to resolve staffing shortages through international retention, the effects of Brexit along with policies designed to bring down net immigration are taking their toll.

Charlesworth continued:

“The drop in EU nurses registering to work in the UK could not be more stark – just 46 registered to work in the UK in April. Without EU nurses it will be even harder for the NHS and other employers to find the staff they need to provide safe patient care. The findings should be a wake-up call to politicians and health service leaders.”

However, she also clarified that the problem is about more than simply international recruitment, saying:

Clearly action is needed to offset any further loss of EU nursing staff in the near future. But the overall shortage of 30,000 nurses is not a shortage caused by the Brexit vote. The chronic shortage of nurses is the result of  years of short-term planning and cuts to training places. A sustainable, long-term approach to workforce planning is desperately needed.”

Since the referendum, there have been calls for any new immigration controls to include exemptions for NHS staff and workers in other key sectors.

2 Responses to “Controls on immigration? 96 per cent drop in number of EU nurses coming to Britain post-Brexit”

  1. kevin

    Approximately 5% of the NHS staff are EU nationals. A similar percentage of the population are EU nationals. If the whole lot left there would be as many nurses, doctors etc per head of population as there are now, so no lose to the customer whatsoever.

  2. Blissex

    Nobody will worry about that: as “kevin” points out the number of EU people living in the UK is pretty small, and also of NHS workers.

    One of the most significant moments of the New Labour era was their sacking of hundreds of (mostly) career nurses, because they were “unaffordable”. They were replaced largely by agency nurses paid a lot less and by the third-world nurses with much lower pay and pensions expectations.
    After brexit the government most likely will raise considerably the number of third world immigrants allowed in, probably on temporary indentured servant visas, so they will not be officially classified as “immigrants”, but “visitors” or “guest workers”. A hedge fund manager who runs a chain of care homes employing a lot of nurses said:

    //www.ibtimes.co.uk/buyout-boss-says-brexit-will-be-good-his-business-will-mean-30-cut-uk-wages-1602631
    One of the biggest names in European private equity said that Brexit will be good for his business, but will mean a 30% wage reduction for UK workers. … He added that EU immigration will be replaced with workers from the Indian subcontinent and Africa, willing to accept “substantially” lower pay.

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