Latest survey by the British Medical Association (BMA) has found that almost a fifth of EU doctors have made plans to leave the UK following the Brexit referendum.
Currently, EU workers make up around 7.7 per cent of the NHS Doctor workforce, and many more work in public health and academic medicine. But nearly half of those surveyed said that they were considering leaving the UK following its exit from the EU, and 29 per cent said that they were unsure about whether their future remained in the UK and 19 per cent said that they have already arranged to move elsewhere for work.
When asked the reason that they were considering leaving the UK, the top three reasons cited were Brexit, uncertainty over future immigration rules and negative attitudes towards EU workers.
The BMA has been urging the government, since the Brexit referendum, to act to protect the long-term stability of the UK’s health services once it leaves the EU. In particular, it said, it is important that any future immigration system must be sufficiently flexible; enable non-UK doctors to work in the country in future and protect doctors already working in the UK.
BMA treasurer Andrew Dearden called this revelation “a real concern,” and argued that the NHS “would not be able to cope” without its EU doctors.
It’s also vital that any future immigration system is flexible enough to ensure the National Health Service (NHS) can recruit and retain doctors and other NHS workers in sufficient numbers, he added.
Responding to the BMA’s findings, the Director of policy and strategy at NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery said that there is increasing evidence that Brexit is having an adverse impact on staff recruitment and retention in the NHS.
She further added that the government must deliver certainty for EU staff. It should reassure them that their commitment to the NHS is greatly appreciated and will continue to be welcome.
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