HOSPITAL bosses fear they could lose much-needed nurses following Britain’s Brexit vote.
South Warwickshire Foundation Trust (SWFT) recently employed 43 nurses from continental Europe, with most new staff coming from Spain and Romania.
But after Britain voted to leave the European Union in June the future of EU citizens living and working in the UK was plunged into uncertainty.
Trust chief executive Glen Burley said his main concern regarding Brexit is that newly employed foreign nurses will decide to leave.
But SWFT – which also buys 40 per cent of their drugs from the EU – says it will continue employing nurses from abroad as it is unsure what the full impact of the decision to leave will be.
A trust spokesman said “The main areas of concern relate to the recently appointed nurses from Europe, who it is hoped will still continue with their employment with the trust.
“We have an ongoing programme of recruitment from the EU for qualified nurses.”
Before the Brexit vote health secretary Jeremy Hunt warned the NHS would face an exodus of overseas doctors and nurses if the UK voted to leave.
With some 150 European nationals working at trust hospitals in Leamington, Warwick, Stratford and Shipston, it could have a devastating impact on SWFT and the rest of the NHS.
And the Royal College of Nursing, which is the world’s largest nursing union, says EU nurses must be protected.
They are calling for the government to develop a strategy to help overseas nurses stay in the country.
Chief executive Janet Davies said: “These are uncertain times for safe staffing in the health service, and a lack of concrete assurances over the future of EU nursing staff working in the UK is making the situation worse. It is vital that valued colleagues are supported to stay.
“Allowing this ambiguity about our NHS workforce to continue is a completely unfair way of treating people who are caring for our friends and families every single day.
“It may also prompt many to leave the UK, making it even harder for the NHS to provide safe patient care.”