Nurses from the EU are turning their backs on Britain, as new figures revealed that the number registering to work in the NHS since the Brexit referendum has fallen by 90%.
The news follows toxic Tory plans to hit employers with a £1000 a year tax for every EU worker they employ, which would see Scotland’s health and social care sector facing a £12 million bill.
Only 101 nurses and midwives from other European countries joined the register to work in the UK last month, down from 1,304 in July, according to the Nursing and Midwifery Council stats – showing the very real impact that Brexit is having on our NHS before the full impact has even happened.
The worker levy plans were suggested by Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill. They have been labelled as xenophobic by former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt, who is one of the EU’s chief negotiators.
Senior Tory MP Anna Soubry called the proposals a “tax on successful businesses”.
Scotland’s health and social care sectors employ 12,000 non-UK EU citizens, according to Scottish Government figures. This would see health and social care in Scotland hit by a bill of £12 million for daring to employ highly skilled and qualified workers from the EU.
Commenting, SNP MSP Clare Haughey, who is Deputy Convener of the Health and Sport Committee at Holyrood, said:
“The Tories continue to pander to the UKIP agenda and the far-right of their own party – making policy based on the most basic dog-whistle racist and xenophobic attitudes rather than considering the impact it would have on services such as our NHS, which is already seeing the number of applications from European nurses and midwives fall dramatically.
“This potential Brexit bill of £12 million would take vital funding out of our health and social care sector – piling onto Tory austerity.
“The health and social care sector has already voiced its concern about the loss of free movement and the multitude of other benefits that the EU brings – and this latest proposal will simply raise even deeper concerns amongst health and care professionals, adding to concerns raised by the NMC’s figures.
Clare Haughey added: “Ruth Davidson must distance herself from these xenophobic proposals and make the case to her bosses at Westminster that Scotland’s health and social care sector cannot be allowed to suffer because of a Tory hard Brexit that aims to discourage diversity in our communities and rob our health sector of a vital source of labour.
“Before and after the referendum last year, Ruth Davidson championed free movement and Scotland’s place in the single market – it’s time for her to prove that she’s a politician of her word.”
This is an official press release from the Scottish National Party (SNP). Images added by Welfare Weekly.