'Serious concerns' over recruitment of EU health staff

A report from the general trade union, GMB, has revealed that the post-Brexit recruitment and retention of European workers in the UK’s health and social care sectors requires urgent government action.

'Serious concerns' over recruitment of EU health staff
The post-Brexit recruitment and retention of European workers in the UK's health and social care sectors requires urgent government action, according to a report from the GMB union.

Running out of options to fill vacancies

The report coincided with the publication of a survey from the Recruitment and Employment Confederation (REC) showing that employers were running out of options to fill vacancies, with the demand highest for medical staff – along with engineers – at a time when the number of candidates had plummeted.According to the GMB report, there were "serious concerns" over the future provision of both health and social care in Britain, especially as the right-to-remain status of EU workers currently employed was still uncertain.An analysis of official figures by the union showed the number of EU nationals working in health and social care had increased 72 per cent since 2009 and now stood at 209,000.

A plan is needed for when freedom of movement ends

Rehana Azam, GMB national secretary for public services, said. "The lack of a proper Brexit plan is yet another reason our health and social care sectors are sleepwalking to catastrophe. These latest figures underline the need to secure the future of existing EU workers and to plan properly for the day when freedom of movement ends."In recent years our reliance on EU nationals has more than doubled, yet Theresa May seems unable to come up with any kind of coherent plan. Whoever forms the next government needs to clarify the future of EU nationals to ensure our health service doesn't stumble into another catastrophe."Meanwhile, the REC – which warned last month that EU nationals were already leaving the UK "in droves" – said that demand for staff was at its highest for almost two years at a time of a dwindling number of potential recruits.

Nursing and engineering sectors hardest hit

Nursing and engineering were the sectors most in need, said the report, and Tom Hadley, REC's director of policy, said the challenges facing the next government were stark. "Official data shows unemployment has dropped to the lowest level since 1975, and EU citizens are leaving the UK in droves," he said. "Employers seeking to fill vacancies are running out of options. Skill shortages are causing headaches in many sectors."The NHS, for example, is becoming increasingly reliant on short-term cover to fill gaps in hospital rotas because there aren't enough nurses to take permanent roles. Meanwhile, the shortage of people with cyber security skills is a particular concern in many businesses."Whichever party forms the next government must focus on improving the employability of our young people and boosting inclusion for under-represented groups."Alongside this, these figures clearly show that in many sectors we need more, not fewer, people so that businesses can grow and public services continue to deliver."For related news and features, visit our Brexit section.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online DirectoryClick to get to the Relocate Global Online Directory  Get access to our free Global Mobility Toolkit Global Mobility Toolkit download factsheets resource centre

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