Brexit prompts ex­o­dus of EU em­ploy­ees from Kent hos­pi­tals

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - News - By Paul Fran­cis

More than 400 staff from the EU have quit their jobs in hos­pi­tals in Kent in the run-up to and af­ter the Brexit vote, fig­ures show.

And there are 670 un­filled nurses jobs at hos­pi­tals run by three trusts, ac­cord­ing to data on va­cancy rates pro­vided to the KM Group.

Health chiefs and nurs­ing lead­ers say Brexit has made re­cruit­ment even harder, largely be­cause of the un­cer­tainty sur­round­ing EU na­tion­als’ sta­tus.

The fig­ures dis­closed un­der the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act in­di­cate that the Maid­stone and Tun­bridge Wells NHS Trust has seen the high­est ex­o­dus of em­ploy­ees, with 134 EU na­tion­als quit­ting in 2016-17 be­fore Brexit and 127 since the ref­er­en­dum last June. The fig­ures cover not just nurs­ing staff but clin­i­cians and ad­min­is­tra­tive staff.

The trust said it was fi­nal­is­ing plans to re­cruit from out­side the EU to fill va­can­cies.

“The trust re­mains mind­ful of re­cruit­ment chal­lenges. It has a com­pre­hen­sive strat­egy that in­cludes lo­cal, na­tional and in­ter- na­tional re­cruit­ment.”

The East Kent Hos­pi­tals Univer­sity NHS Foun­da­tion Trust said it val­ued its di­verse work­force and con­tin­ued to work hard “lo­cally, na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally” to fill va­can­cies.

Dart­ford and Grave­sham NHS Trust chief ex­ec­u­tive Su­san Acott said Brexit was al­ready mak­ing it harder to em­ploy nurses from the Con­ti­nent.

“Brexit has given some of our Euro­pean and in­ter­na­tional staff a sense of un­cer­tainty and anx­i­ety about the fu­ture,” she said.

“We aren’t able to re­cruit enough reg­is­tered nurses lo­cally and un­til the fu­ture be­comes clearer, we an­tic­i­pate that it will be­come harder to re­cruit staff from abroad.”

The re­liance on over­seas staff in the NHS is un­der­lined by sep­a­rate fig­ures show­ing that to­gether Kent’s three trusts still have more than 1,100 on their pay­roll.

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