Health and social care providers face “big gaps” as they struggle to replace EU workers

EU-trained nurses “simply left the UK” amid concerns over Brexit.

James McKay
11 June 2019
Nurse checking watch nursing

It is estimated the NHS is short of nearly 40,000 registered nurses.

Public services such as the NHS are facing “big gaps” in recruitment as they struggle to replace EU workers who are leaving the UK, suggests a new report.


The report, published by the employment group Manpower, suggests that EU workers have “simply left the UK” contributing to a combined shortage of 210,000 staff throughout health and social care system.

It is estimated the NHS is short of nearly 40,000 registered nurses and 10,000 medical staff.

In May, the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) revealed that 51% of EU-trained nurses cited worries about Brexit as a key contributing factor to leaving the profession.

‘It’s not just the NHS’.

Mark Cahill, Managing Director at Manpower, warns the staffing crisis is not just confined to health and social care services.


He said: “Looking at the public sector, it’s not just the NHS that is facing huge shortages.

“We have seen the Government launch a campaign to fill 110,000 vacancies in the adult social care sector while the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is now the largest it has been in the last decade as it has recruited to prepare for Brexit, and we forecast that civil service hiring is set to continue apace through the summer.”

The report claims the outlook for employment in private firms is the weakest in seven years amid the continued uncertainty over Brexit.

A staffing crisis.

Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Since the vote to leave the EU, we’ve seen large numbers of European-trained nurses leave on account of their uncertain future in the UK. This exodus only compounds the desperate staffing shortages we’ve seen in recent years.


“The public should be given the opportunity to make an informed choice on a decision that will impact generations to come, so we want to see a second referendum.

“The staffing crisis in health and care services has its roots before the 2016 vote and it is vital to note the pressure caused by years of underinvestment and poor planning. We need a serious staffing strategy to deliver safe and effective care, explicit legal accountability at Ministerial level for delivering the right numbers of staff, and investment of £1 billion a year to recruit, train and retain and new generation of home-grown nurses.”

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