The National Health Service benefits greatly from its close links with countries across the European Union. That includes being able to call on the vital skills of people who work to make the NHS the envy of the world.
I recently met a number of frontline nurses from the Royal College of Nursing, including from the North West, to listen to their fears of Brexit and their determination to enable the people to have the final say on the Prime Minister’s botched deal.
The ‘Nursing at Brexit point’ event, in Parliament, brought together MPs, members of the House of Lords and nurses.
The nursing staff back a second referendum on the final terms of the Brexit deal – People’s Vote – because they see every day how a broken Brexit will harm their ability to deliver for all of us who use the NHS.
Several nurses from the EU shared their experiences of working in the NHS across the UK since the Brexit vote. Both EU and UK nurses highlighted their concerns about how Brexit is affecting the nursing workforce and its impact on the future supply of medicines, public health and nursing regulation.
The Royal College of Nursing warns that Brexit poses an immediate risk to the provision of safe and effective health care, as well as collective efforts to improve our nation’s public health.
There has been a fall in the number of EU nurses applying to work in the UK. Between October 2017 – September 2018 fewer than 900 EU nurses signed up to work in the UK compared to 10,000 only two years ago.
Meanwhile, the number of EU nurses and midwives who left the register from October 2017-September 2018 was 3,560.
Our NHS is too precious to be risked in this way. We need the care and dedication of NHS staff, including nurses, from across the EU. That is why we need to demand that the Prime Minister faces up the fact that Parliament is deadlocked and the people need to be trusted with a final say over the future.