Kate celebrated the work of EU nursing staff in the UK.
In Westminster, Kate met 12 frontline nurses as part of the Royal College of Nursing’s “Nursing at Brexit point” on Wednesday 12 December. The event, in Parliament, brought together MPs, members of the House of Lords and nurses.
Kate heard about why nursing staff back a second referendum on the final terms of the Brexit deal – the People’s Vote.
Several nurses from the EU shared their experiences of working in the NHS across the UK since the Brexit vote. Both EU and UK nurses highlighted their concerns on how Brexit is affecting the nursing workforce and its impact on the future supply of medicines, public health and nursing regulation.
The Royal College of Nursing warns that Brexit poses an immediate risk to the provision of safe and effective health care, as well as collective efforts to improve public health.
There has been a fall in the number of EU nurses applying to work in the UK. Between October 2017 – September 2018 fewer than 900 EU nurses signed up to work in the UK compared to 10,000 only two years ago. Meanwhile the number of EU nurses and midwives who left the register from October 2017 – September 2018 was 3560.
Kate said: “I’m concerned that the number of vacancies in nursing is increasing, which threatens the provision of safe and effective healthcare in the UK. Our NHS needs nurses from Europe to fill these vacancies and help provide the best possible healthcare for every patient.
“It’s really worrying that the Brexit chaos created by the Conservatives is reducing the number of EU nurses and midwives our NHS relies on. Of course, we want to see more UK nurses in training, but since the Tories scrapped the nursing bursary, student numbers are well down.
“It’s a serious threat to the health and well-being of our nation if we don’t have enough nurses to care for our sick. That’s why I support the Royal College of Nursing in backing a People’s Vote on the final terms of the Brexit Deal.”
Dame Donna Kinnair, Acting Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “Amid the chaos of the last few days in Parliament, nursing staff have delivered a strong message to MPs on how Brexit will affect them and most importantly the safety of the patients they care for.
“Uncertainty over the UK’s future relationship with the EU is putting healthcare in jeopardy. The final Brexit deal will affect generations now and in the future.
“Citizens and nursing staff must have the opportunity to make an informed choice. The solution is a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal.”