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Brexit will lead to difficulties in recruiting MH staff

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31 January 2018

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‘Brexit is set to make recruitment in mental health (MH) services more difficult’, the NHS Confederation Mental Health Network has warned.

The organisation said that ‘the two key areas that are likely to be impacted most are workforce and research’.

‘Extreme pressure’

MH Network chief executiv Sean Duggan said: ‘Currently, the health sector is a service under extreme pressure.

‘Brexit is set to make recruitment in mental health (MH) services more difficult’, the NHS Confederation Mental Health Network has warned.

The organisation said that ‘the two key areas that are likely to be impacted most are workforce and research’.

‘Extreme pressure’

MH Network chief executiv Sean Duggan said: ‘Currently, the health sector is a service under extreme pressure.

‘We must ensure that the NHS continues to have a sustainable pipeline of staff in order to deliver services.

‘If we’re unable to recruit personnel from EU countries in the same numbers as we have been able to then it could lead to intolerable strain.

Nationally, one in 10 posts in specialist MH services are vacant, according to Health Education England (HEE).

In 2017, the Government announced that local areas would create 21,000 new MH posts by 202 to ‘deliver the improvements in services and support set out in the NHS’ Five Year Forward View for MH’, it said.

EU’s input

The MH Network said that 19% of current psychiatry consultants working in the East of England are nationals from EU and European Economic Area (EEA) countries.

Significant support for MH research is currently secured from EU programmes, which have also supported collaboration between researchers in the UK and the EU.

Data from the European Commission shows that Horizon 2020, which is the biggest EU research and innovation programme, has nearly €80bn (£70bn) of funding available from 2014 to 2020.

UK researchers and innovators received around 15% of the funding, ‘as well as benefitting indirectly from funding allocated to their project partners from elsewhere’, said the European Commission.

Through the programme, UK organisations were given €3.2bn (£2.8bn), with €420m (£369m) from the health strand of the programme, according to Brexit Health Alliance.

Mr Duggan hopes that ‘this funding gap will be closed’.

He added: ‘If the research isn’t continued, the impact on patients a few years down the line will be immense.

‘The two recent reports from HEE, Stepping Forward to 2020/21: Mental Health Workforce Plan for England and Facing the Facts, Shaping the Future – a draft health and care workforce strategy for England to 2027, set out the strategy for long-term workforce planning in the NHS.

‘Implementing the strategies outlined in these reports is key to making sure that the sector remains able to recruit effectively.’

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