Brexit is making the staffing crisis at East Sussex Healthcare Trust even worse according to the Liberal Democrats.
Figures published by the Lib Dems reveal that 84 EU staff working at East Sussex Healthcare Trust have already left the health service this year, including 27 nurses and midwives.
In the three years since the Brexit vote, 460 NHS staff from the EU have left the local trust.
Staff departures from East Sussex Healthcare Trust are part of a worrying national trend says Nick Perry who is contesting the Hastings and Rye seat for the Lib Dems. He says nationally more than 3,250 NHS staff from the EU have left the health service so far this year, including 1,116 nurses.
The data is based on responses to Freedom of Information requests across 50 NHS hospital trusts, reveals that:
- Over 11,600 NHS staff from the EU have left the health service in the three years since the Brexit vote, including 4,783 nurses.
- Over 3,252 NHS staff from the EU have left the health service so far this year (Jan – Oct 2019), including 1,116 nurses.
The Lib Dems have warned that shortages of NHS staff will get even worse under Conservative plans that would see EU nationals charged what the Lib Dems have dubbed a ‘nurse tax’ potentially costing staff thousands of pounds to come and work for the NHS.
However, under Conservative proposals, visa fees and the NHS surcharge would be extended to EU workers, meaning an EU nurse would have to pay £1,089 to work in the NHS for the first year and £3,589 for five years the Lib Dems claim.
Former Hollington GP and the Liberal Democrat campaigner for Wishing Tree, Dr Emlyn Jones said: “These shocking figures reveal the damage Brexit has already done to the NHS in East Sussex and it’s set to get worse under the Tories.
“The Conservatives’ obsession with Brexit has already cost our NHS dearly. Now the Tories want to clobber hardworking NHS staff with a nurse tax that will cost them thousands to come and work here. It’s no wonder that NHS staff from the EU in East Sussex are leaving their posts. Unfortunately, it’s patient care that will suffer as a result.”
Mr Perry added: “Only the Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit to protect our NHS. We will make clear to staff from the EU that they are valued, tackle the staffing crisis and invest an extra £35 billion in health and social care.”