News

24.03.17

EU Brexit negotiator calls for European staff to be protected

Uncertainty caused by Brexit must be addressed immediately to ensure the rights of EU staff working in the UK as well as British nationals living in the EU is protected, the European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator has announced.

Ahead of Theresa May triggering article 50 next Wednesday, which will formally begin the process of Britain leaving the EU, Michel Barnier of the European Commission has called on the government to address uncertainty that could see thousands of NHS staff be forced to leave the country.

Today’s announcement follows continued lobbying by the British Medical Association (BMA) for the prime minister to guarantee that workers from the EU in the NHS are given immunity to new laws that could see them be deported post-Brexit.

Speaking at the plenary session of the European committee in the Regions, Barnier said: “This uncertainty is first and foremost that of the four and a half million citizens.”

Barnier added that thought must be given to, “British pensioners who are resident in Spain and who benefit from healthcare under the same conditions as Spanish pensioners” as well as the “nurses and doctors who contribute to the quality of healthcare in the United Kingdom”.

“It will take time, several months certainly,” Barnier explained. “And we must do serious legal work on this with the United Kingdom.

“But we can and we should agree – as soon as possible – on the principles of continuity, reciprocity and non-discrimination so as not to leave these citizens in a situation of uncertainty.”

Last month, the BMA warned that almost half of the EU workforce in the NHS were considering leaving the UK due to uncertainty over Brexit, and that should they actually leave, this could signal a total “disaster” for a health service already struggling with staff shortages.

Before that, BMA council chair Dr Mark Porter said in a speech that ensuring the stability of the NHS’s EU workforce was absolutely essential.

“Thousands of overseas and EEA doctors work in the NHS, with many more in public health, academic medicine and medical research,” Dr Porter said.

“While doctors work to provide the best possible care for patients, many from the EEA are left feeling unwelcome and uncertain about whether they and their families will have the right to live and work in the UK after Brexit.

“These are the people who staff our hospitals and GP surgeries, look after vulnerable patients in the community, and conduct vital medical research to help save lives.

“Many have dedicated years of service to healthcare in the UK, so it’s extremely concerning that so many are considering leaving.”

Dr Porter also warned that whilst the NHS was close to “breaking point” the workforce simply could not afford to lose any more workers.

“But this isn’t just about numbers; having a variety of skilled professionals enhances the experience and expertise in the health system, which is beneficial to patient care,” he argued.

A Department for Health spokesperson said: "Overseas workers form a crucial part of our NHS and we value their contribution immensely.

"The Prime Minister has been clear that she wants to protect the status of EU nationals already living here – that includes those working in the NHS.”

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an NHE columnist? If so, click here.

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

national health executive tv

more videos >

latest news

View all News

comment

NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

23/09/2019NHS England dementia director prescribes rugby for mental health and dementia patients

Reason to celebrate as NHS says watching rugby can be good for your mental ... more >
Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

21/06/2019Peter Kyle MP: It’s time to say thank you this Public Service Day

Taking time to say thank you is one of the hidden pillars of a society. Bei... more >

editor's comment

25/09/2017A hotbed of innovation

This edition of NHE comes hot on the heels of this year’s NHS Expo which, once again, proved to be a huge success at Manchester Central. A number of announcements were made during the event, with the health secretary naming the second wave of NHS digital pioneers, or ‘fast followers’, which follow the initial global digital exemplars who were revealed at the same show 12 months earlier.  Jeremy Hunt also stated that by the end of 2018 – the 70th birthday... read more >

last word

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad: ‘We all have a role to play in getting innovations quicker’

Haseeb Ahmad, president of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI), sits down with National Health Executive as part of our Last Word Q&A series. Would you talk us throu more > more last word articles >

interviews

Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

24/10/2019Matt Hancock says GP recruitment is on the rise to support ‘bedrock of the NHS’

Today, speaking at the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) annual... more >

the scalpel's daily blog

Pre-diabetes: a hidden healthcare problem

26/05/2020Pre-diabetes: a hidden healthcare problem

Dr Russell Muirhead, Clinical Director of Living Well, Taking Control A third of adults in England have pre-diabetes, according to research published in The BMJ. The study ... more >
read more blog posts from 'the scalpel' >

healthcare events

events calendar

back

June 2020

forward
mon tue wed thu fri sat sun
25 26 27 28 29 30 31
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 1 2 3 4 5

featured articles

View all News