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NHS crisis as hospital staff from EU leave in droves after referendum while fewer are being hired

PUBLISHED: 17:32 02 April 2019 | UPDATED: 17:39 02 April 2019

NHS hospitals depend on EU staff Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

NHS hospitals depend on EU staff Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

PA Archive/PA Images

The loss of employees from the EU once Britain quits would leave the NHS in east London and elsewhere "in a state of near collapse", health union bosses are warning.

Fewer EU nationals are joining the staff at Newham University and Royal London hospitals than before the Brexit referendum—while more are leaving, shock figures reveal.

The Barts Health NHS Trust which runs both hospitals hired just 265 EU citizens after the UK voted to leave, compared to 424 it took on in the 12 months up to November 2015, a fall of 38 per cent, according to NHS data.

“Departing EU nationals mean serious problems for the NHS,” the Unison staff union’s Sara Gorton warned.

“Brexit is making it harder for hospitals to recruit, and causing workers from the remaining EU countries to question whether to stay in Britain.

“The NHS would be in a state of near collapse without the European employees whose skills have helped limit the effects of the huge staffing gaps.”

Barts Trust is also losing more EU staff, with 316 leaving in 12 months, compared to 189 three years before.

The same trend runs across the UK, with fewer EU nationals joining the NHS and more leaving than before the 2016 referendum. But there was also a trend of EU workers applying for settled status to remain in the UK, the Department of Health reveals.

“We want EU workers to stay,” a Department spokesman said. “They play a vital role in the health system. Our priority is to make sure standards are maintained.”

The number starting full-time jobs in the NHS has fallen by a quarter, from 14,500 in 2014-15 to 10,800 in 2017-18, while the number leaving rose from 6,700 to 9,600.

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