New report published examining Brexit and the health and social care workforce

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The National Institute for Economic and Social Research (NIESR) has published a report commissioned by the Cavendish Coalition, examining Brexit and the health and social care workforce in the UK.

The key findings from the report include:

  • in the UK, a little over 5 per cent of the regulated nursing profession, around 9 per cent of doctors, 16 per cent of dentists and 5 per cent of allied health professionals were from inside the EEA
  • in 2016, EEA nationals made up 5.4 per cent of the workforce, though in absolute terms their number grew by 68 per cent, or 30,600 individuals, since 2011
  • a forecasted potential shortfall of around 5,000 to 10,000 nurses in the NHS in England by 2021. This is on top of existing vacancies, which stood at 41,722 (11.8 per cent of all positions) at the end of June
  • EEA nationals are more likely to work in specialties and locations with weak domestic supply. EEA doctors are well-represented in shortage specialties and there are regional differences in the reliance on EU nationals.

The Cavendish Coalition is co-chaired by NHS Employers chief executive Danny Mortimer and brings together 36 organisations across health and social care to provide the best care to their communities, patients and residents.

Danny Mortimer said: “These startling figures should be taken extremely seriously by those negotiating our departure from the EU.
The health and social care sector is deeply reliant on talented colleagues from across Europe and the rest of the world so it is deeply disheartening to see these projected workforce gaps at a time of rising demand for services.

“The health and social care sector desperately wants to retain the EU nationals working in our services now and need the welcome process for registering for settled status to be honoured if no deal is agreed with the EU27.

“In parallel we need to ensure the development of the future immigration system is responsive and agile, with as little red tape as possible, and that it uses public service value as a key factor in assessing skill levels and setting entry requirements rather than just salary.

“This will help tackle the often misleading assumption that the salary paid to a migrant worker is the prime indication of the value of their work to the health and wealth of the UK.”

The Cavendish Coalition are committed to working together to ensure a continued domestic and international pipeline of high calibre professionals and trainees in health and social care.

Access the full NIESR report and recommendations and infographics highlighting key findings.

NIESR has also accompanied the report with a blog Brexit risks putting social care on the critical list and podcast Could Brexit be bad for our health and social care sectors?


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