Brexit contributes to 'huge shortages' of NHS and social care staff: new report

PUBLISHED: 00:01 11 June 2019

Public services are facing massive Brexit-related recruitment gaps as organisations such as the NHS struggle to replace EU workers leaving the UK, says a new report. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images

Public services are facing massive Brexit-related recruitment gaps as organisations such as the NHS struggle to replace EU workers leaving the UK, says a new report. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images

PA Wire/PA Images

Public services are facing massive recruitment gaps as organisations such as the NHS struggle to replace EU workers leaving the UK, says a new report.

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A survey of over 2,000 employers found that EU workers have "simply left the UK", worsening the problem of 100,000 unfilled posts in the NHS and 110,000 in the adult social care sector.

The survey, conducted by conducted by recruitment firm Manpower, found that workers such as qualified nurses can be placed in a job "almost immediately".

Managing director Mark Cahill said: "Looking at the public sector, it's not just the NHS that is facing huge shortages.

"We have seen the government launch a campaign to fill 110,000 vacancies in the adult social care sector while the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is now the largest it has been in the last decade as it has recruited to prepare for Brexit, and we forecast that civil service hiring is set to continue apace through the summer."

Employers in the Midlands and London were more positive, said the report.

Recruitment was revealed to be a major concern in the Brexit planning of numerous NHS trusts in reports that also warned about the potential impact on medical research, availability of drugs and ballooning costs.

Revealed: the 'terrifying' NHS Brexit planning the government doesn't want you to see

Labour MP Tonia Antoniazzi, who supports the People's Vote campaign, said: "Big promises were made in 2016 about how Brexit would benefit the NHS. Today, the reality is very different.

"European healthcare staff are either leaving or not arriving in the first place thanks to Brexit, meaning there is now a growing shortage of nurses, doctors and others on whom our NHS relies.

"Coupled with vastly lowered economic growth prospects, our NHS faces a perfect storm if Brexit goes ahead.

"This is not the future that anyone voted for, and in the event of a destructive no deal, things would be much worse.

"Now we know so much more about what the reality of Brexit looks like, and with the risk of no deal growing by the day, the only way to deliver a stable and lasting settlement to this tortured process is to give the public the final say through a People's Vote."

In the private sector, the outlook for employment is the weakest in seven years amid the continued Brexit uncertainty, said Manpower.

Private companies are also exercising caution on recruitment as they wait and see what happens after the summer, said Cahill.

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He added that the recruitment boom in the run-up to March 29, as companies prepared for likely Brexit disruption, had now passed.

"With that infrastructure now in place, it is inevitable that this hiring pace could not be sustained, and businesses in the South East of England are now planning to cut back on taking on new employees."

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