‘Brexodus’ - Rise in number of EU nationals leaving the NHS since Brexit vote

PUBLISHED: 09:11 26 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:37 26 November 2018

NHS nurse Joan Pons Laplana campaigns against Brexit. Photo: Contributed

NHS nurse Joan Pons Laplana campaigns against Brexit. Photo: Contributed

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New figures reveal that 26,000 EU nationals have left the NHS since 2016 with one hospital witnessing a 94% rise in departures in 2017.

The explosive new research has been carried out by anti-Brexit campaigners Best for Britain and uncover the devastating scale of EU nationals leaving vital public services since the Brexit vote.

In the biggest research project ever undertaken on EU nationals in the UK working in public services, Best for Britain issued Freedom of Information requests to over a thousand NHS trusts, universities, fire services, ambulance services, national parks, local councils and government departments - revealing a massive 40,000 EU nationals have left since the Brexit referendum.

The data shows the number of EU nationals leaving soared in the year after the referendum, suggesting Brexit is pushing vital public sector workers out of the UK. Across the public bodies who supplied data on EU nationals in their staff, there was a 15% jump between 2016 and 2017.

The biggest impact was in the NHS and university sectors which are heavily reliant on EU nationals. A combined total of 38,000 have left their posts since the referendum.

Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay, who has admitted it will be a Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay, who has admitted it will be a "challenge" to get Theresa May's deal with the EU through Parliament as scores of MPs say they will vote against it. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire.

The research also found:

• Over 70,000 EU nationals are currently employed across 237 public bodies, making them a pillar behind UK public services

• Nearly 11,000 will leave by the end of this year alone.

• The NHS is haemorrhaging staff, with 26,000 having left since 2016 and a terrifying rise of 22% in the year after the referendum. NHS trusts are facing the most severe Brexodus include King’s College Hospital and University Hospital Southampton, with the number of EU nationals leaving rising by 94% and 40% in 2017.

• Universities across the country have also been hammered by the impact of Brexit, with over 20,000 EU nationals having left since 2016. Among the worst affected were prestigious institutions such as Glasgow and Cambridge where the number of leavers ballooned by a quarter - posing a significant threat to their position at the top of world rankings for universities.

Dr Phillip Lee from the Best for Britain movement called it a “Brexodus” with EU nationals leaving on a “scale never witnessed before in this country.”

He said: “EU nationals are the pillar which support fundamental public services in this country. We cannot sit back and watch vital public services like our NHS be damaged by Brexit. That’s not what Leave voters were promised in 2016.

“There’s a clear case for the people being given the final say over Brexit, with the option to compare what we currently have with the hope of a deal being offered by this government.”

Caroline Lucas laid the blame firmly at the door of the prime minister and her Conservative colleagues.

She said: “The prime minister and her Conservative colleagues have pandered to prejudice and treated EU citizens with disdain - from using their rights as bargaining chips throughout the Brexit negotiations, to blaming them for decades of government failures to invest in our communities.

“Ministers must urgently guarantee EU citizens’ rights in law and make them feel secure enough to stay.”

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