latest health care news

14.09.16

Loss of EU midwives would ‘impact hugely’ on workforce

Midwives have called for clarification on the status of NHS workers from European Union countries as the UK prepares to leave the EU.

Freedom of Information requests from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) have found that the equivalent of 1,192 full-time midwives in the NHS in England are from the EU.

In London, 16% of the midwifery workforce comes from the EU. At Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS FT and Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, over 10% of the midwifery workforce is from the EU.

Jon Skewes, RCM director for policy, employment relations and communications, said: “The RCM like many other unions campaigned to remain in the EU and while we respect the outcome of the EU referendum our concern is now for our members whose future employment rights in the UK currently remain unknown.”

He added that England already has a shortage of 3,500 midwives – and this could get even worse if EU midwives lose the right to work in the country.

“To lose over 1,000 midwives will impact hugely on an already overstretched and struggling maternity service,” Skewes added.

“It is also immensely unfair that hardworking midwives working for our National Health Service should be left in limbo with regard to their future employment rights in this country.

“The government needs to provide assurance on job security not only to these midwives, but for thousands of other NHS workers from other EU countries. Only last week the chancellor Philip Hammond announced that European bankers will be given preferential treatment to protect the economy after Brexit, why not NHS workers?

“The RCM is calling on the government to clarify the working situation for hardworking NHS staff from other EU countries post Brexit sooner rather than later.”

A recent report from the IPPR said that the NHS will “collapse” unless EU nationals working for the NHS are offered free citizenship.

In a blog post, Cathy Warwick, CEO of the RCM, added that if England loses its NHS midwives, “care would be worse, potentially even unsafe in the worst-hit trusts – and it would all be entirely self-inflicted”.

“It’s not a difficult decision,” she continued. “They should be told that whatever happens in the negotiations, they can stay.”

Warwick also highlighted the issue of EU midwives in her speech at the TUC congress yesterday.

(Image c. David Jones from the Press Association)

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Comments

Aze   14/09/2016 at 10:59

A revolutionary thought: why not train more in this country? A minimum of 10 % of the NHS budget is wasted because of management incompetence. We have decentralised buying processes, where supplier companies cannot believe their good luck in negotiating with inept management. I worked for a supply company.

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