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Brexit: London Assembly Health Committee calls for greater security for NHS EU workers

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20 February 2018

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Better guarantees for the rights of EU health workers are needed, said the London Assembly Health Committee.

In the fourth Brexit Directive letter to the mayor of London Sadiq Khan, chair of the London Assembly Health Committee Dr Onkar Sahota said the mayor should talk the Government into providing a sector-specific guarantee to preserve the rights of EU healthcare workers in the UK.

Better guarantees for the rights of EU health workers are needed, said the London Assembly Health Committee.

In the fourth Brexit Directive letter to the mayor of London Sadiq Khan, chair of the London Assembly Health Committee Dr Onkar Sahota said the mayor should talk the Government into providing a sector-specific guarantee to preserve the rights of EU healthcare workers in the UK.

The Assembly also specified that the Government should look into how the removal of nursing bursaries is having an impact of the drop of nursing applications.

Dr Sahota wrote: ‘Our pending exit from the EU presents further challenges. There are thousands of EU nationals who work to keep our NHS running and this letter urges you to ask the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union for greater certainty about their future, and, in anticipation of attracting more UK nationals into the occupation, to lobby for a review of the decision to remove nursing bursaries.’

Some 6,000 nurses from the European Union are working in London’s health service, contributing to making the capital twice as reliant on EU staff as the rest of the UK.

The letter was sent after a few days ago the Home Affairs Committee criticised the state of uncertainty that is keeping NHS staff in the dark and said that the ‘immigration system is not prepared for Brexit’.

The London Assembly welcomed Phase 1 Brexit agreement that commits to protect the rights of EU nationals who live in the UK and those who will arrive before 29 March 2019.

However, they believe that more needs to be done to improve the living conditions of EU nationals.

Dr Sahota wrote: ‘Our EU Exit Working Group heard about the impact that continued uncertainty is having on EU nationals’ quality of life and their decisions about their future.

‘Equally, an agreement about EU citizens who arrive before the UK’s withdrawal date does not help to attract EU medical professionals in the long term.’

‘EU nurses and doctors are skilled professionals and if they’re uncertain about their status in the UK, they leave the NHS.’

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