Crisis – what crisis? But leader says EU workers are vital
Brexit in Buckinghamshire paper looks at staffing in health and social care
THERE is “no evidence” to suggest health and social care in Bucks is facing a “crisis” as the Brexit deadline looms, according to the leader of the county council.
Continued staff shortages across health and social care is one of the key issues laid out in Bucks County Council’s (BCC) ‘Brexit in Buckinghamshire’ report – which tackles key problems faced by the county as Britain prepares to leave the EU next year.
The report states shortages in health and social care sectors “could deteriorate further” in the face of a “more restrictive immigration policy post-Brexit”.
Hospitals are already struggling with huge nurse shortages as hundreds of vacancies remain unfilled across the county – prompting Bucks’ NHS Trust to pledge to tackle the growing crisis earlier this year.
A total of 20 per cent of staff at Bucks’ adult residential care homes, and 11 per cent at adult nursing homes, are EU nationals.
However leader of BCC, councillor Martin Tett, said while leaving the EU is a “risk”, he does not believe there will be a crisis following Brexit.
He said: “Adult social care relies very heavily on the workforce that currently has a very high propensity to have people from overseas come in.
“Not just from Europe, but we have a large number of people from places like the Philippines and so on who come to the UK to work in the care industry and indeed the NHS more generally. So is there a high dependency? Yes there is.
“One of the things local government is making very clear is that whatever immigration policy replaces the EU’s immigration policy, we need to take into account the availability of staff overseas to come in and man the health service, particularly social care.
“I think government would be extremely unwise not to take that into account.
“Do I think there is going to be a crisis? Personally, no I don’t. But it is a risk. And it is a risk that one has to flag up to government.” The report adds “innovative recruitment packages”, including subsidised accommodation, and more investment in “labour reducing technology” are two options that could tackle the issue.
Above – a nurse on duty: the Brexit in Buckinghamshire report says staff shortages in health and social care could get worse if immigration rules are tightened after Britain leaves the EU
County council leader: Martin Tett