The Women’s Equality Party calls on the government to act now to save our European workforce and protect vital health and social care services.
As Labour and the Tories wrangle endlessly about which version of Brexit they want, our NHS and social care systems are facing a vacancy crisis. Last year there was a ninety percent decline in the number of EU migrants coming to work in the NHS. There is now a shortage of more than 200,000 staff across NHS trusts and adult social care, and a staggering 30 percent of adult social care workers leave every year.
As many as 62,000 NHS staff and 104,000 adult social care workers are EU migrants, but with the uncertainty over their future status and rising hostility towards EU nationals, thousands of nurses are now leaving the UK, deepening the existing crisis. This situation will only worsen if Brexit goes ahead, ending the freedom of movement these workers -and so everyone in Britain -- relies on.
WE ARE FACING AN NHS VACANCY CRISIS. SIGN OUR PETITION TO PROTECT OUR NURSES AND CARE WORKERS’ RIGHT TO STAY
Some people will say this isn’t just about Brexit, and they’re right. Poor working conditions; the removal of training bursaries; bullying and harassment; and low pay, have all contributed to this crisis. It is shameful that in the fifth largest economy in the world, nurses are being forced to use food banks. We have to tackle the reasons the care system is haemorrhaging workers--not add another reason for them to leave.
WE are standing in the European elections because the EU is crucial to our NHS. Our candidate Dr Hannah Barham-Brown trained as a nurse when bursaries were available, she is now a GP Trainee and has witnessed the crisis first-hand.
“We were warned by UKIP in 2016 that we were at “breaking point” because too many immigrants were arriving. Well I am telling you today that we are at breaking point because too many migrants are leaving.” - Dr Hannah Barham-Brown
Over the last year, the number of EEA nurses and midwives arriving to work in the NHS was just 968 - a massive fall from the 9,389 that arrived the year before the Brexit referendum. Our NHS is facing a vacancy crisis, we need to act now to protect the rights of the migrant workers who keep it going. The Women’s Equality Party is proposing radical action to save our NHS and care services, by creating a centralised register of European care workers and standardising training and assessment so that their qualifications are recognised in every EEA country. WE commit to giving nurses, midwives and social care workers training bursaries, the right to permanent residence after three years (rather than five) and access to public funds.
WE ARE FACING AN NHS VACANCY CRISIS. ADD YOUR NAME TO PROTECT OUR NURSES AND CARE WORKERS’ RIGHT TO STAY
For our vision of an equal and flourishing EU, including plans for a new and transformative EU-wide Care Workers’ Passport, read our manifesto not just to remain in the EU, but to advance.