Following pressure from Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, Justin Madders; red-faced Health Minister, Philip Dunne has been forced to admit that his new boss, Jeremy Hunt made no assessment of the potential effect of a Brexit vote on workforce numbers in the NHS.
The shocking admission comes after the NHS Confederation warned that the Leave vote could deter doctors and nurses from Europe from accepting jobs, exacerbating the serious workforce issues already facing the Health Service.
There are currently 130,000 EU health and care workers in the UK, including 10% of doctors and 5% of nurses. The under-pressure Health Secretary will face criticism following the embarrassing admission that he failed to prepare for how these vitally important workers could be impacted by a Brexit vote, as well the implications for future recruitment.
Commenting Shadow Health Minister, Justin Madders said:
“Far from giving us an extra £350 million per week to spend on the NHS as the Leave campaign promised, the Referendum result could have a serious impact on a service that is already facing a crisis.
“It beggars belief that Jeremy Hunt ignored warnings from experts and didn’t bother to assess how a Brexit vote might impact on our already stretched NHS workforce.
“The Government needs to urgently move to reassure the 130,000 health care workers that they are valued and that their future in the UK is secure. They also need to act immediately to ensure that a plan is put in place to safeguard future recruitment.
“The Tories are already failing on recruitment and retention of staff, which is why soaring agency costs have caused a record NHS deficit. This latest admission will add to the body of evidence that the NHS is not safe in Jeremy Hunt’s hands.”
A link to Justin’s PQ can be found here: http://www.parliament.uk/business/publications/written-questions-answers-statements/written-question/Commons/2016-07-11/42381/