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Government urged to save jobs of over 33,000 EU nurses

Nurse leaders call on ministers to safeguard the future of EU staff working in the UK

Mark Gould

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Nursing leaders have called for safeguards on the future of European Union health workers as new research reveals that over 33,000 EU trained nurses work in the UK.

The figures obtained by the Royal College of Nursing from the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) show that there are currently over 33,000 EU trained nurses registered to work in the UK as a whole, with over 9,000 joining the register in 2015/16 – a 21% increase on 2014/15.

And separate figures based on data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre, shows that there are at least 1,786 nurses working in the North West who are from the EU. The figures show nurses from every part of Europe are now working in NHS Trusts and CCGs across the region, with Ireland (556), Spain (467), and Italy (212) being the most common nationalities. However, as not all staff choose to provide information on their nationality, it is likely that many more EU nurses are working in the UK.

With many North West trusts struggling to recruit at home after a long pay freeze in the NHS, the RCN estimates that recruitment from the EU is now at its highest level for twenty years.

In addition, private sector health providers and care homes also rely on EU staff to deliver their services.

The RCN is calling for the value of European nursing staff to be recognised and for the Government to safeguard their futures.

Estephanie Dunn, Regional Director of RCN North West said: “These are uncertain times for safe staffing in the health service, and a lack of concrete assurances from the Government over the future of EU nursing staff working in the UK is making the situation worse. What is vital is that valued colleagues across the North West region are supported to stay.

“Allowing the uncertainty to carry on is an unjust way of treating people who are caring for our friends and families every single day. It may also force many people to consider leaving the UK, making it even harder for the NHS to provide safe patient care.”

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