1. ITV Report

Warnings of nursing shortages across our region following Brexit

Thousands of nurses across the region could be at risk following Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) says many South West employers are already struggling to recruit without bringing in talent from abroad.

They say staffing levels across the West could be badly affected if immigration rules change following Brexit.

There are almost 3,000 EU nurses working across the West Country Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
nurses based in the South West identify as being from the EU. (As of March 2016)


from Spain
from Portugal
from Ireland
from Italy

The RCN say there are likely to be many more than these as many choose not to provide information on their nationality.

In addition, private sector health providers and care homes also rely on EU staff to deliver their services.

Following the figures the College is calling on the government to protect the future of EU nurses already working here. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

The College is now calling on the government to protect the future of EU nurses already working here.

A debate will take place in the House of Lords debate today - Thursday - on the impact of the vote to leave the EU on safe staffing levels in the NHS.

The Lords will also be debating other risks to the NHS workforce such as the Government’s proposals to change student nurse funding.

Many employers in the South West are struggling to recruit nurses and they rely on bringing in talent from abroad. It is vital that these valued colleagues are supported to stay in the region.

The problems employers face in the recruitment of nursing staff is the result of a sustained lack of investment in training new nurses and years of pay restraint. Plans to change student funding and question marks over our future relationship with the EU place an additional, unacceptable pressure on the NHS.

What is needed is a sensible strategy for workforce planning for the future that recognises the critical contribution of overseas nurses as well as the pressing need to educate, recruit and retain a home grown nursing workforce.

– Jeannett Martin, RCN South West Regional Director
Credit: David Jones/PA