The 63,000 NHS staff and 104,000 social care workers will have their training and experience recognised.
Just days before the UK is scheduled to leave the European Union (EU), the Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that EU workers, including nurses, will have their qualifications and registration recognised in the UK – even if Britain exits without a deal.
The move means the 63,000 NHS staff and 104,000 social care workers who qualified in the EU but work in the UK will have their training recognised by regulatory bodies, including the Nursing and Midwifery Council, the Health and Care Professionals Council and the General Medical Council.
The legislation also ensures employment contracts will not need to be changed and staff will not have to re-apply for their current positions.
Some experts have criticised the time it has taken to provide reassurances to EU staff.
‘Feel valued and stay in the UK’.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Every day across the health and social care system, our EU colleagues and friends make a difference to millions of lives, and this vital legislation means they will be able to continue work here, whatever the Brexit outcome.
“My message to EU staff is clear – we all want you to feel valued and stay in the UK. Today’s announcement builds on our NHS Long Term Plan’s commitment to recruit and retain a world-class workforce over the long term.
“My priority is to make sure high standards are maintained across the healthcare system and patients continue to receive the high-quality care they deserve – this legislation helps ensure that will continue to be the case.”
‘EU staff make an incredible contribution to the NHS’.
Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive of NHS Employers and Chair of the Cavendish Coalition, said: “We have been clear that we must continue to embrace the vital contribution of our talented colleagues from overseas in caring for our patients and communities.
“We very much welcome the news, as will employers and staff, that the UK will recognise the qualifications of EU professionals in a no-deal situation.
“We would hope for similar confirmation of recognition for those with UK qualifications working in the EU.”
Ruth May, Chief Nursing Officer for England, said: “Our EU staff make an incredible contribution to the NHS, touching the lives of patients and families as doctors, nurses, midwives, care staff, allied health professionals, porters and a whole host of other professions.
“I, therefore, welcome this news and hope that it goes some way to reassure EU staff that your expertise and skills are valued and that you matter to us.”