According to experts, the worrying trend in the number of nurses quitting has everything to do with Brexit. Since the vote, the authorities have seen a near 92% decrease in nursing applications. If the trend continues, the UK could face a serious shortage of nurses.
Many people blame Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May in not coming out with reassurances to EU nationals that are already living in the UK and working as nurses. Will they be able to stay after Brexit? And what about the many EU workers that still would like to work as nurses in the UK. Will this be possible after Brexit? Should each and every nurse gamble their future on a future in the UK which is still in the blue? The problem is that UK hospitals are in urgent need of staff and the staffing problems are highly unlikely to diminish with time. One of the main reasons for this is being touted as decades of failure to think and plan ahead. Britain has already failed to educate enough nurses and is, therefore, depending heavily on foreign nationals.
Some people are already beginning to look at the possibilities. Norman Lamb, a previous heath minister from The Liberal Democrats, has suggested a special type of passport to secure qualified health personnel from other parts of the world. In fact, Mr. Lamb is “demanding” 59.000 such passports for nurses and doctors. “It is vital that we reassure NHS staff and social care workers from the EU that they remain welcome and valued in the UK following Brexit,” says Mr. Lamb on the Lib Dem website. “These people save lives, yet this Conservative government is treating them with careless disregard.” The government has been worryingly silent until now, which is deepening the problem. Because if you cannot plan ahead for your own future, isn’t it better to flee the ship?
The government and health authorities are trying to diminish the problem, saying that much of it has to do with a new way of testing the language capabilities of nurses. But who knows if this reassurance is good enough for those foreign nationals that came to the UK before Brexit was threateningly near on the horizon. One thing is for certain, if Theresa May and the government does not take this problem seriously, the UK may lose tens of thousands of highly qualified health personnel that will be sorely missed by an NHS that will be even worse pressed for personnel in a few years from now.