The NHS has relied on foreign workers to run the NHS for a number of years and one thinktank believes that without EU staff the health service would struggle to survive.
The (IPPR) Institute of Public Policy Research believes the NHS would collapse without its 57,000 members of staff who are EU nationals.
The influential thinktank has said that any EU citizens who have lived in the UK for over six years should be granted automatic citizenship, reports the Guardian.
The IPPR is concerned that in post-Brexit Britain the UK might suffer a brain-drain with essential skilled people, returning home, or finding jobs in countries that are more willing to accept them.
Chris Murray, who helped to compile the document, said: “It is critical to public health that these workers do not seek jobs elsewhere. All EU nationals who work for the NHS, or as locums in the NHS system, should be eligible to apply for British citizenship. This offer should be organised by the regional NHS and mental health trusts, who would be responsible for writing to all NHS staff who are EU nationals to inform them of their eligibility.”
Murray continued: “There are currently around 57,000 EU nationals working in the English NHS, accounting for 5% of its workforce; one in 10 of the UK’s registered doctors is an EU national. Without them the NHS would collapse.”
As of February this year, 57,063 of the NHS’s 1.2 million staff are citizens of other EU countries.
No decision has been made as to when, or if, the government decides to trigger Article 50 and the UK leaves the EU. Some report have said that if it happened it might not be until the end of 2019, and it could take up to a decade to work out a new set of trade agreements to ensure the UK could still trade with the remaining EU countries.
There have also been calls for second referendum to ensure that UK voters are happy with the terms of Brexit once the all the negotiations have ended and a clear road map is presented to the British people, establishing how leaving the EU would actually look like.
Until then the employment situation of EU nationals is up in the air, however the IPPR believes their deportation is unlikely. However, the lack of official reassurance is already having a significant impact on those seeking jobs, housing, bank loans or trying to make other long-term commitments.