Vince Cable has called on Theresa May to use her speech in Florence tomorrow to make a bold offer on EU nationals’ rights, as new figures reveal that almost 10,000 EU workers quit the NHS in the year after the Brexit vote.
9,832 EU nationals left the NHS between 30 June 2016 and 30 June 2017, figures published by NHS Digital today have revealed. This is an increase of 22% on the previous year, and up 42% on two years earlier.
In total 3,885 nurses, 1,794 doctors and 1,518 support staff from the EU left the NHS between June 2016 and June 2017.
The Liberal Democrats are calling for negotiations on the rights of EU nationals in the UK and British citizens living in Europe to be ring-fenced so that neither are used as bargaining chips in the broader Brexit negotiations.
Liberal Democrat Leader Vince Cable said:
We are losing thousands of high-quality nurses and doctors from the NHS, driven partly by this government’s heartless approach to the Brexit talks.
Using EU nationals as bargaining chips is not only morally wrong, it is utterly counter-productive and damaging to our NHS.
It’s time for the government to take the issue of EU citizens in the UK and British nationals in Europe out of these negotiations.
Theresa May must make a bold offer to the EU to ring-fence negotiations on citizens’ rights and come to a rapid agreement.