Mass exodus of NHS workers not expected after Brexit

The number of NHS workers in Wakefield is unlikely to fall steeply immediately after the UK leaves the EU, health bosses have said.

The NHS is heavily reliant on workers from the EU.
The NHS is heavily reliant on workers from the EU.

Concerns have been raised nationally about the impact of Brexit on the NHS, because of the number of EU nationals working in the service.

Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has acknowledged that some employees may eventually decide to leave the UK, though bosses have made clear they don't want this to happen and have told foreign workers that their contribution is highly valued.

However, no mass exodus is expected to take place in the short-term.

Speaking at a health scrutiny committee on Thursday, the CCG's director of corporate affairs, Ruth Unwin, said: "From our own assessments there is no immediate risk to our workforce.

"In the long-term, there are a lot of EU nationals working for us locally, and we need to keep an eye on that, because there's a possibility they might return to their country of origin.

"We wouldn't want them to do that, because we're very reliant on that workforce."

The CCG also offered further reassurances that patients with subscriptions do not need to panic in the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

NHS England has stockpiled medicines in case there is difficulties getting them into the country at any point, but the CCG has said these preparations will be nullified if people don't believe the situation is in hand and demand extra prescriptions in advance.

Doctors and pharmacies have been "alerted" to that danger, Mrs Unwin said.

Local Democracy Reporting Service