As a result a considerable proportion of nurses will retire within the next 10 years which will add further strain to the NHS. This shortage is particularly apparent in the mental health sector as it requires expertise and specialisation to work in this field.
The recent vote on Brexit is potentially making this situation worse. A report published by the institute for employment studies (IES) indicates that 4.5% of NHS nurses belonged to a country within the EU accept for Ireland. However, this proportion is estimated to be as high as 20% in some London trusts and trusts in east of England. According to the government, EU nurses who have 5 years’ experience working in the UK will be able to remain, however what will happen to the other nurses is not yet clear. The government needs to take steps to clarify what will be the policy in regards to this group of EU nurses. What the prime minster has confirmed is that the rights of the nurses from other EU countries will be protected.
This climate of uncertainty and the perceived hostility are the major reasons why some of the nurses from the EU are hesitant to remain in the UK. They have not been given adequate assurance about their future in the UK and this will make it difficult to attract EU nurses and retain them in the NHS. All this situation requires is an immediate response from the government as explained by Janet Davies who is the nursing chief executive of Royal College.
A plan needs to be put in place now whilst the policy is being discussed and written. We need to enable nurses from the EU to continue to work within the NHS until the government is clear on how this will work. A solution that may handle this problem is to create a better workplace system that will take into consideration all of the rights of the workers; EU, National and international. There is a possibility that this dependence on the nurses from the other areas of EU is temporary, however there are many benefits to having a diverse workforce within the NHS.
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