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ECHO: Tories must act NOW on nursing figures

November 7, 2017 9:55 AM
By Southampton Liberal Democrats

In today's Echo, Southampton Liberal Democrats' Health Spokesperson James Read comments on reports that European nurses are leaving the NHS in their thousands, leaving huge gaps in the workforce and impeding the ability of the NHS to serve our nation's needs:

"I was greatly saddened, although not entirely surprised, to read that the number of European nurses leaving the NHS was up 67% in the last year, following the outcome of the Brexit referendum. That equates to a drop of over 4000 nurses.

"Earlier this year, the Nursing and Midwifery Council found that applications from European-trained nurses to work in the NHS was down by a shocking 96%.

"This is a worrying trend. With the public sector pay cap and withdrawal of nursing training bursaries by the Tories, our NHS is not able to recruit and train enough nurses quickly enough to replace those that are leaving. This is a huge problem, given that the Royal College of Nursing says that there are currently in the region of 40,000 unfilled nursing vacancies in the NHS.

"The political climate in this country is making many of our European friends, neighbours and colleagues feel unwelcome here. Whilst they continue to flail aimlessly in the Brexit negotiations, the least the Tory government can do is to guarantee the rights of EU citizens contributing to our national wellbeing, and thereby undo a fraction of the damage being done to us by Brexit."

In other news published today, it has been revealed that the NHS could afford to hire an additional 9000 nurses with the money curreently being spent in Whitehall on hiring civil servants to manage Brexit.

James Read

"The Conservative's mismanagement of the NHS is absolutely appalling.

"They could be investing much-needed cash to train and hire the nurses our country needs, rather than doggedly pushing on with the monumental folly that is Brexit.

"As usual, the Tories are putting ideology ahead of pragmatism, and it's places like Southampton that are going to suffer".