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NHS could face ‘significant problem' if Brexit affects EU recruitment

The Royal College of Surgeons has expressed concern about a possible dip in the number of European surgeons who work in the NHS. Picture by Getty
Ella Pickover, Press Association

LEADING doctors have expressed concern over the impact Brexit could have on the NHS workforce.

If there is a dip in the number of European surgeons who work in the NHS there could be a "significant problem", Ian Eardley, vice president of the Royal College of Surgeons said.

He told the House of Lords Committee on the Long-Term Sustainability of the NHS that recent years had seen an increase in the number of European surgeons who were coming to work in the NHS.

Around one in five surgeons in the NHS in England come from the EU, Mr Eardley said. He said: "Forty percent of surgeons on specialist registers in this country trained overseas.

"Of these half trained in Europe and the other half trained outside Europe and what has happened in recent years is the number of people coming from outside Europe has been diminishing while the numbers coming from within Europe has been increasing.

"So if that tap was to be turned off there could be potentially a significant problem certainly for surgery."

Professor Jane Dacre, president of the Royal College of Physicians, told peers: "Up to 20 per cent of our workforce is from the European Union.

"We haven't done the numbers yet because it is still up in the air, I think suffice to say, it is not good."

On Monday the Department of Health's most senior civil servant Chris Wormald told the Public Accounts Committee that issues surrounding workforce from the EU was one of the main priorities for the department's team working on Brexit.

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