Following reports that the Government has no accurate figures on the number of EU doctors and nurses currently working in the health service in Scotland, Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton today called on the UK Government to protect the rights of EU citizens working in the UK to avoid a Brexit-induced NHS staffing crisis in Scotland.
The report highlights statistics from the Nursing and Midwifery council and the General Medical Council which indicate that there are 33,000 nurses and 30,000 doctors who qualified in the EU registered to work in the UK. A recent Royal College of Nursing briefing paper described Brexit as presenting a “major problem” for staffing in Scottish health and social care services.
Commenting Mr Cole-Hamilton said:
“Our health and social care services could not function without the pool of talent we are currently allowed to recruit from. No one voted in the EU referendum on the basis that their local GP would be deported and the NHS cannot afford to suffer a Brexit-induced staffing crisis.
“EU citizens are our friends, neighbours and colleagues. They are saving lives in our NHS, delivering world-leading research in universities and making a huge contribution in their local communities. It is utterly shameful that anyone should consider them as cards to be played as part of some grand Brexit strategy.
“No-one who voted to Leave will have done so on the basis that their local GP would be deported. The UK Government needs to confirm as a matter of urgency that the rights of those EU citizens who have chosen to make their life here will be protected. The approach that Theresa May and her gang of Brexiteers are taking will cripple our NHS and will only alienate us from our friends and partners in Europe.”