YOUR LETTERS: Brexit – the NHS relies on EU nurses

Pilgrim Hospital at Boston.
Pilgrim Hospital at Boston.
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Two months have now passed since the decision was made that the UK will be leaving the European Union.

Since the referendum, there has been much talk but little clarity about what happens next and the consequences of this result for all of us.

The Royal College of Nursing remains particularly concerned about the impact on the nursing workforce.

NHS hospitals, care homes and other organisations across the health and social care sectors in this region, and across the UK, rely on the huge contribution of nursing staff from both inside and outside the EU.

Figures show there are currently more than 33,000 EU-trained nurses working in the UK.

The continuing uncertainty about what Brexit means for the future of EU nursing staff already working here and those interested in doing so threatens to worsen nursing shortages, already threatened by changes to student funding and the removal of bursaries.

We also continue to hear of cases of abuse directed at EU nursing staff following the referendum and the assumption by some that they should have left the UK.

Such prejudice is reprehensible. There must be zero tolerance of any such abuse.

The RCN will ensure that the nursing voice is heard as negotiations on leaving the EU commence and will support our members who are affected.

We must never lose sight of the fact that, without EU nurses, our health services could not operate and patient care would undoubtedly suffer.

Carol Evans

Chairman

Eastern region board

Royal College of Nursing