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NHS and Social Care Workforce: Implications of Leaving the European Union

Published Friday, July 15, 2016

This Library briefing has been prepared ahead of the forthcoming debate on the implications of the European Union referendum result on the NHS and social care workforce, particularly with regard to ‘safe’ staffing levels. It details statistics on the numbers of citizens from other EU member states currently working in the NHS and social care; examines a range of commentary and reaction to the result of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union and the potential implications for staffing in the NHS; and briefly examines the debate and recent developments on the issue of ‘safe’ staffing levels.

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EU nationals currently comprise around 4.95 percent of the staff in NHS trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups, and 5 percent of the social care workforce. Presently, there has been no change to the status of these staff, or their right to remain in the UK. However, a number of health organisations have called for explicit assurances that existing healthcare staff from the European Union will be able to stay in the country in the future, and that the UK healthcare and social care sectors will continue to be able to recruit staff from the EU. The new Prime Minister, Theresa May, has stated her desire to “guarantee the position” of both EU migrants in the UK and UK migrants in other EU countries, but said that no issue should be taken off the table prior to the commencement of negotiations on the future relationship between the UK and EU.

Lords Library notes LLN-2016-0039

Author: James Tobin

Topics: Health services, Health staff and professions

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House of Lords Library

The House of Lords Library delivers research and information services to Members and staff of the House in support of parliamentary business.