UK study: Brexit has exacerbated doctor shortage

Status: 11/28/2022 12:08 pm

Even before Brexit, Britain was dependent on healthcare workers from European countries. The exit from the EU makes it difficult for doctors and nurses to work in the country. According to a study, the resulting gap is larger than expected.

According to a recent study, Brexit has exacerbated Britain’s acute shortage of doctors more than expected. According to a study by the think tank Nuffield Trust, more than 4,000 fewer European doctors are currently working in the British healthcare system than was expected before Brexit. The Guardian newspaper commissioned the study.

The increase in the number of staff from EU and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries has “slowed down” and “fell below the expected increase,” according to the study. EFTA countries include Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

Greater impact on nursing staff

Last year around 37,000 doctors from European countries worked in the UK. Without Brexit, it would have been almost 41,300, they say. The departments of anesthesia, pediatric medicine, cardiac surgery, and psychiatry are particularly affected.

Brexit has an even stronger impact on nursing staff arriving in Britain from other European countries. Currently there are 29,000 nurses; however, without Brexit, it would have been 87,000 according to forecasts. In the 2021/22 fiscal year, only a fourteenth of the EU workers entered the country who still entered the country in 2015/16. However, the number of professionals from other countries such as India and the Philippines increased significantly.

High costs and bureaucracy.

The researchers see the “obvious reason for the change in 2015 and 2016” in the Brexit referendum result. Due to Britain’s departure from the EU, skilled workers now need work visas, which is associated with high costs and a lot of red tape.

“Deteriorating working conditions” in the healthcare system also contributed to the decline. The UK’s NHS health service is chronically underfunded and understaffed. In England alone, more than 10,000 doctors are missing. Therefore, the British healthcare system was already dependent on EU staff before Brexit.

The UK Department of Health disagrees.

However, the British Department of Health rejected the results of the investigation. “This analysis is inaccurate and we do not acknowledge or agree with its main conclusions,” The Guardian quoted a ministry spokesman as saying. On the other hand, “significant progress is being made in the training and hiring” of medical personnel. Consequently, there should be even more staff today than in 2016.

Regina Anderson

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