Thank you for your email regarding the effects of leaving the EU on the NHS.
I would like to pay tribute to the 62,000 EU nationals who work in the NHS and commend the care and compassion they provide. I appreciate that leaving the European Union poses uncertainty to our public services and those who work in them. I believe we must do all we can to support the NHS and I have every confidence in the efforts of my ministerial colleagues to ensure that the UK not only concludes an excellent deal with our European partners, but also maintains this country's reputation as a fantastic place to live and work.
I’m aware of reports that the numbers of EU nationals working in the NHS has recently fallen, however I also understand that the number of EU nationals working in the NHS actually increased by 5.6% in the year following the referendum. I note that, unfortunately, there was a small fall in the number of nurses and health visitors from the EU during this time, but there are a variety of factors which could account for this, notably the introduction of a new English language test for NHS staff from the EU, and falling unemployment in countries such as Spain and Poland, which had previously contributed many nurses to the NHS.
The Government has been embarking on one of the largest recruitment drives in the NHS. Today, there are over 14,000 more nurses and over 11,000 more doctors in NHS wards than in 2010, as well as a further 50,000 nurses in training. Furthermore, the Government recently announced an extra 1500 training places for doctors and over 5000 more trainee nurses, an increase of 25%. I believe that these efforts will significantly support NHS staffing and safeguard the NHS for the future.
Thank you once again for taking the time to contact me.
With best wishes.