Nurses from EU states no longer want to come to Britain, thanks in part to Brexit. But is that such a bad thing?
The statistics are dramatic, with a 96% drop in less than a year of EU nurses registering to practice in the UK. There’s no way to deny brexit Britain has become unattractive for many outsiders.
Sceptics point to a requirement that foreign nationals have had to comply with stringent British Council regulations, such as by having good use of English, since January 2016. But the chart above does not support such views.
“We’re sick of being stuck in a reserve pool, working at a lower grade for less money and being overlooked by HR managers recruiting from outside”
The wider implications of this supply drop may alleviate the plight of qualified nurses having to work in the NHS as assistants due to insufficient vacancies.
One nursing assistant at Sheffield’s Northern General told me: “We’re sick of being stuck in a reserve pool, working at a lower grade for less money and being overlooked by HR [human resources] managers recruiting from outside. I’ve had to watch others do the work I’m fully qualified to do.”
However, it’s a different story elsewhere. A friend told me today: “I can only speak for Doncaster Royal Infirmary where my partner is a nurse of 20+ years.
“Vacancies unfilled (by any nationality) have resulted in a chronic shortage of nurses, meaning she has to do more than her part-time contract and her colleagues have access to a literally unlimited number of extra shifts (via the professional nurse bank – an online resource used to try to fill shifts on wards where there are too few nurses).
“Good if you want overtime money of course, but I would suggest unsustainable in the long term. A combination of too few home-grown student nurses coming through, along with less foreign applicants.
“If that’s reflected nationwide it’s going to bite sooner or later. If government really wants more home-grown nurses (which I agree would be a good move), reversing the cuts they made to student nurse bursary would be a step in right direction.”
He added that although a lack of EU nurses will exacerbate problems, the situation has been difficult for several years and “a major problem continues to be bureaucracy and too much paperwork”
So the good news is that such frustration and waste will surely disappear as opportunities to recruit locally take prominence. We’ll see.