Patients need protecting in event of 'no-deal' Brexit

23 Aug 2018

The RCN warns patient safety could be put at risk if EU nurses aren’t guaranteed settled status should the UK leave the EU without a deal.

EU flags

Earlier today, the Government released 'no-deal' Brexit advice for a variety of industries, including health care. While Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock’s letter on the subject recognised the “valuable contribution EU citizens make to the UK”, no guarantees were made for the rights of EU workers.

This is while NHS workforce figures, also released today, reveal that nurse numbers have plummeted still further. The RCN has warned that patient care must remain a priority in any Brexit outcome. Losing valued EU colleagues would put further pressures on our overstretched and understaffed health services and, for as long as the UK fails to train enough health care professionals of its own, recruiting from Europe and the wider world must be as easy as possible.

Dame Donna Kinnair, Acting Chief Executive and General Secretary of the RCN, said: “EU nurses will be left worried and uncertain about their future following this failure to guarantee settled status if we crash out of the EU.

“We now call on the Home Office to affirm the commitment made by Dominic Raab, Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, that the rights of EU nationals already in the UK will not be affected by a no-deal Brexit.

“Patients cannot be left high and dry without the medicines and the nurses they need. If the Government sleepwalks into ‘no-deal’ it must protect patient interests and guarantee safe and effective care in law.”

Page last updated - 22/11/2018