NHS leaders have warned that their ability to continue delivering current levels of care will be severely hampered if Brexit leads to European Union staff leaving in droves.
The NHS Confederation - the organisation representing NHS providers and commissioners - has advocated that the government take 'immediate steps' to ensure this does not happen in a briefing paper ahead of a House of Lords debate into Brexit's impact on safe staffing in both the NHS and social care.
It said: "The uncertainty created about our ability in future to recruit from other EU countries is also worrying NHS leaders, given curent staff shortages in some professions and some ares.
"We have an immediate and pressing need for clinical staff which cannot be met from our domestically trained market."
"...the UK's decision to leave the European Union has created uncertainty fro the significant portion of our workforce who are from other EU countries...if many of these staff lead, there would be some risk to our ability to deliver current levels of access to care."
The confederation grounds its concerns in the fact that 57,000 people - or roughly 5 percent of NHS staff - are EU nationals, and of this, 21,000 are nurses in England, with half of this number working in London, the south east, or east of England.
Combined with rising demand, an ageing population and inadequate funding rises, NHS employers are predicting that staffing levels may not be sufficient to keep the NHS running satisfactorily.
And while they acknowledge that steps are being taken to fill the employment gap including removing student bursaries, increasing apprenticeships and introducing the new nursing associate position, these initiatives may not be enough.
In order to keep up with this demand and ensure the NHS's staffing levels remain consistently adequate, the organisation's briefing advocates letting healthcare staff remain in the UK indefinitely., and that nurses remain on the government's shortage occupation list.
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