Fears for a NHS winter crisis grow after thousands of EU staff quit

The Guardian reports that more than 10,000 EU nationals have left the NHS since the 2016 Brexit referendum, including almost 5,000 nurses.

So far this year alone more than 3,250 EU staff have left the NHS, according to data released under the Freedom of Information Act. These figures are from less than 50% of England’s NHS trusts and are only for 10 months, so the actual figure is likely to be higher. In 2019, 1,116 EU nurses have left.

The data was compiled by the Liberal Democrats which shows that since the referendum 11,600 EU staff have left, including 4,783 nurses. The number of EU leavers increased by 23% from 3,504 in 2015 to 4,335 in 2017. The number of EU staff leaving levelled slightly to 4,013 in 2018, still up 14% on 2015.

There is also evidence that as more EU health workers leave, fewer nurses are arriving. Recent figures from the Nursing and Midwifery Council show that the number of nurses arriving from the EU dropped by 87% from 6,382 in 2016-17 to 805 in 2017-18.

An NHS Confederation survey published last week showed that nine out of 10 hospital bosses in England are concerned the severe shortages could damage patients’ health, with 58% believing this winter will be the toughest yet.

Full story from the Guardian, 24 November 2019