Brexit experts have warned that the NHS could lose all of their EU midwives in the next decade. The Royal College of Midwives has announced that more and more trained staff have been leaving the UK than arriving since the referendum in 2016.
At present, there is enough trained staff from Europe to cover 12 maternity units in hospitals, which is the equivalent of caring for 40,000 new mums every year. If this decline continues, then there could be a dire consequence for the NHS.
The Director of policy, employment relations and communications Jon Skewes has stated: “The RCM is deeply concerned that we are already seeing them leaving midwifery at an alarming rate”. He also speculated that midwives from the EU need certainty about their visa and citizenship status.
As the Immigration Bill has been paused amid talks with EU27, large corporations and businesses are expressing their concern and frustration at living in the unknown.
It seems that many industries who have EU workers are feeling the strain of this feeling of unknown, as many EU professionals have opted to leave Britain amidst this time of uncertainty. London could be significantly affects, as the city sees the highest proportion of EU workers in the UK.
All practising midwives must register with the Nursing and Midwifery council – this makes it easy for the government and the NHS to be able to track how many workers come from the EU.
After it was announced that Britain was leaving the EU, the figures for registered midwives dropped by 94% in the year after the vote.
The latest figures reveal that the NHS is already short of 3,500 midwives in England alone and, despite their recruitment efforts, very few midwives are stepping forward to take the positions. This is also exacerbated by the Tier 2 Visa cap being reached every month this year.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson and Tory backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg have promised to give the NHS a cash windfall when the UK receives its Brexit dividend.