Scots NHS faces doc Brex­o­dus

Half of EU medics could leave

Daily Record - - NEWS - VIVIENNE AITKEN v.aitken@dai­

NEARLY half of Scot­land’s doc­tors from the rest of Europe could leave the coun­try be­cause of Brexit.

Doc­tors’ lead­ers yes­ter­day warned of the im­mi­nent threat to our health ser­vice, which is al­ready strug­gling to fill con­sul­tant and GP posts.

It comes af­ter a UK-wide sur­vey of 1720 doc­tors who gained their pri­mary med­i­cal qual­i­fi­ca­tion in an­other European Eco­nomic Area coun­try found that 45 per cent were con­sid­er­ing leav­ing the UK, while 19 per cent had al­ready made plans to go.

In Scot­land, 140 EEA-trained doc­tors re­sponded to the sur­vey, with 34 per cent con­sid­er­ing leav­ing, while 14 per cent had made plans to leave.

BMA Scot­land chair­man Dr Peter Ben­nie said: “We have warned for some time that the on­go­ing un­cer­tainty over the fu­ture sta­tus of EEA na­tion­als is deeply and need­lessly dam­ag­ing.

“These are our friends and our col­leagues and too many of them con­tinue to face un­cer­tainty over what their fu­ture will be.

“The NHS in Scot­land sim­ply can­not af­ford to lose the val­ued con­tri­bu­tions that so many doc­tors from else­where in Europe make to it.

“The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment have been clear that they want to pro­tect the rights of European NHS staff, and this is wel­come and ap­pre­ci­ated by many, but it is ul­ti­mately the West­min­ster Gov­ern­ment who must act be­fore fur­ther dam­age is done.”

Health Sec­re­tary Shona Ro­bi­son said: “This sur­vey is a stark re­minder of the dam­age that a hard Brexit will do to our pub­lic ser­vices.

“It is deeply con­cern­ing that so many doc­tors from across the EEA are con­sid­er­ing leav­ing the UK as a re­sult of Brexit.

“The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment have com­mit­ted to fi­nan­cially sup­port­ing EU na­tion­als work­ing in our pub­lic ser­vices, in­clud­ing doc­tors, to help them ob­tain set­tled sta­tus in Scot­land if that is nec­es­sary.

“We con­tinue to call on the UK Gov­ern­ment to ne­go­ti­ate for mem­ber­ship of the European sin­gle mar­ket as the best way to pro­tect our fu­ture so­cial and eco­nomic pros­per­ity.”

Scot­tish Labour’s Brexit spokesman Lewis Macdon­ald said: “The health ser­vice have seen a huge ben­e­fit from free­dom of move­ment, with an enor­mous num­ber of EU cit­i­zens work­ing in our NHS.

“With the staffing prob­lems that al­ready ex­ist in the Scot­tish NHS, it is lit­tle sur­prise the BMA Scot­land chair­man has said we can­not af­ford to lose the con­tri­bu­tions EU staff make to our health ser­vice.”

Lib Dem MSP Alex ColeHamil­ton said: “Thanks to the chaos un­leashed by the Con­ser­va­tive Party, tal­ented medics are leav­ing these shores and head­ing else­where.

“Ruth David­son has some nerve in cam­paign­ing to ‘save GP surg­eries’ while her party are di­rectly re­spon­si­ble for strip­ping them of staff they des­per­ately need.”

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