Will Forster

Lib Dem Spokesperson for Woking and Councillor for South Woking Learn more

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Figures reveal exodus of EU NHS staff in local hospitals

by willforster on 26 November, 2019

Brexit is making the staffing crisis at St Peter’s and Royal Surrey NHS Trusts even worse, the Lib Dems have warned.

Figures published by the Lib Dems reveal that 78 EU staff working at the Royal Surrey NHS Trust and 63 at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital have already left the health service this year.

In the three years since the Brexit vote, 311 NHS staff from the EU have left the Royal Surrey and 269 have left Ashford and St Peter’s.

Staff departures from our two local hospitals are part of a worrying national trend: over 3,250 NHS staff from the EU have left the health service so far this year, including 1,116 nurses.  The data, based on responses to Freedom of Information requests across 50 NHS hospital trusts, reveal that:

  • Over 11,600 NHS staff from the EU have left the health service in the three years since the Brexit vote, including 4,783 nurses.
  • Over 3,252 NHS staff from the EU have left the health service so far this year (Jan – Oct 2019), including 1,116 nurses.

The Lib Dems have warned that shortages of NHS staff will get even worse under Conservative plans that would see EU nationals charged a “nurse tax” worth thousands of pounds to come and work for the NHS.  Nurses and other health professionals from the EU do not currently pay any fees to come and work for the NHS.

However, under Tory proposals, visa fees and the NHS surcharge would be extended to EU workers, meaning an EU nurse would have to pay £1,089 to work in the NHS for the first year and £3,589 for five years.

These shocking figures reveal the damage Brexit has already done to the NHS in the hospitals that serve Woking and it’s set to get worse under the Tories.

The Conservatives’ obsession with Brexit has already cost our NHS dearly.  Now the Tories want to clobber hardworking NHS staff with a nurse tax that will cost them thousands to come and work in the NHS.  It’s no wonder that NHS staff from the EU in S Peter’s and Royal Surrey are leaving their posts.  Unfortunately, it’s patient care that will suffer as a result.

Only the Lib Dems will stop Brexit to protect our NHS.  We will make clear to staff from the EU that they are valued, tackle the staffing crisis and invest an extra £35 billion in health and social care.

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