With many of the region’s doctors, nurses and general staff made up of non-British nationalities, how will the NHS survive post Brexit?
SRNews spoke to Michelle Gordon, a Sunderland based nurse.
“I think it might be a death sentence for the NHS because prior to brexit the NHS was already struggling,” Michelle said.
“A lack of new students, coupled with nurses becoming disillusioned with understaffing, caused a reliance on non-British nationality overseas nurses
“These people have kept the NHS afloat during my nursing career.
“I can see no way in which Brexit can be beneficial our already struggling NHS. I feel like [it’s] only a matter of time before we lose it completely.”
The Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust (NTW) believes the move could severely damage the effectiveness of the NHS. Speaking to SRNews following a Freedom of Information request, a NTW representative explained that the decision to leave the EU “has created significant uncertainty among the country’s NHS workforce”.
The Trust echoes the national position that EU staff are a valued and appreciated group of the overall workforce in the NHS and it is important that they are provided with the certainty they need to continue living and working in the UK.
“Even if we don’t remain in the single market it is unlikely that a future government would make it difficult for the NHS to recruit and retain the staff it needs,” a spokesperson said.
Figures obtained following a freedom of information request show that the NTW currently has 6,331 members of staff. Based on nationality, Brexit potentially impacts upon 103 members of staff — 1.6 per cent of their workforce.
But what will the trust do to ensure current foreign-nationality trust employees are allowed to carry on in their job?
The Trust explained that it will “actively push for a thorough review of the migration system, so that employers can recruit and retain European staff with confidence.”
While the NTW admits it has not seen evidence of staff leaving as a consequence of Brexit, the British Medical Association is reporting that four in 10 EU doctors were considering it as a result of the referendum.
“If this projection is right we could potentially stand to lose 12 doctors,” said the NTW.