Bad Brexit could hit staffing of NHS, warns CCG chief

Julia Ross has been appointed as the new chief officer for Bristol, North Somerset and South Glouces

Julia Ross has been appointed as the new chief officer for Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCGs. - Credit: Archant

Recruitment at NHS centres, such as Weston General Hospital, could be badly affected by a poor Brexit agreement.

That is the opinion of Julia Ross, who is chief executive of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning group (BNSSG) who last week said the UK’s split with the European Union would likely affect staffing arrangements.

She said: “Clearly Brexit for us – as I think it will be for local councils – in many of our services in workforce terms could be a real disaster if we get it wrong.

“We’re very much conscious of that.”

She made the comments at a joint health overview and scrutiny meeting in Kingswood, attended by councillors from the three areas.

Recruiting staff from mainland Europe has been a commonly used ploy by hospitals – including Weston Area Health NHS Trust – because of the lack of options at home.

Its chief executive, James Rimmer, recently admitted it was becoming harder to attract nurses from Europe because of the impending Brexit deal.

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He said: “Many of our staff are from overseas, that’s international, but we also continue to recruit from Europe.

“That has slowed down as a result of Brexit – and indeed we’ve lost people.

“We couldn’t run the hospital without our European staff, or also without our home-based staff.”

Ms Ross admitted there are problems it needs to look into.

She said: “I think it’s a general concern.

“We’ve got a lot of people who have come from the European Union.

“All I can say is we don’t actually know how this will end.”

Figures show nearly 4,000 nurses and midwives from the European Economic Area left the Nursing and Midwifery Council register between 2017 and 2018 – a year-on-year rise of 28 per cent.