Yorkshire hospitals ‘working hard to retain EU staff’ despite some Brexit-effect on staff quit rates

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A Yorkshire hospital has seen three times more staff from EU countries quit their jobs after the Brexit vote than before it, new research has revealed.

The investigation found that almost one in every 10 workers who left Airedale Hospital in 2016/17 was an EU national.

In 2014/15, 1.5 percent of leavers were from the EU. That figure went up to 2.5 per cent a year later, but rose to 9.3 per cent after the referendum.

In total, 161 workers from all countries left the Trust last year, with 15 were from the EU.

This was compared to seven out of 278 in 2015-16 and four out of 263 the year before that.

Airedale was the Yorkshire trust most affected by post Brexit quittage.

The wide-ranging investigation by the BBC Local News Partnership - which evaluated staffing levels at all NHS trusts in the country - found that Calderdale hospital also saw a slight rise in leavers from 1.2 per cent to 4.9 percent post Brexit.

Sheffield Children’s Hospital also saw an increase, with almost six percent of leavers in 2016/17 coming from EU, compared to 2.6 per cent the year before.

In Leeds however, the city’s biggest NHS hospitals trust saw the number of new recruits from the EU (6.6 per cent of all new staff) outstrip the number of leavers (6.1 per cent).

Jill Asbury, director of nursing at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Over the last two years we have recruited nurses from the EU to support our nursing workforce.

“The majority of those recruited remain at Airedale, though some have gone back home or to work elsewhere for a variety of reasons. We continue to look at ways of retaining all staff including those from the EU.”

Lindsay Rudge, deputy director of nursing at Calderdale Hospital, said: “Over the last few years we have successfully recruited nurses from the EU. The majority of them remain with us and we continue to focus on supporting these staff to retain them in our Trust. We also continue to recruit both medical and nursing staff locally, nationally and internationally.” And John Somers, chief executive of Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We are hugely grateful to our staff who provide incredible care to children every day. Whatever their nationality, every member of staff is an important and valued part of the team.

“There has been minimal impact for us in terms of EU leavers in the last year, with 10 staff from the EU leaving us and seven joining us. However we are of course disappointed if any of our colleagues feel they need to move on because of Brexit.

“We have been doing everything we can to reassure staff from the EU that we value their contribution here.

“We hope we can continue to attract the best professionals and ensure children continue to receive the best possible care with us.”

The figures were revealed as part of major investigation by the BBC.

It comes after the British Medical Association warned that almost half of the 10,000 EU doctors working in the UK were considering leaving in light of the result. There has also been a sharp drop in the number of nurses registering to work in the UK, it is claimed.

Sources told the BBC that at least one NHS trust had abandoned a recruitment fair in an EU country due to a poor response rate.

The highest exodus of EU workers was at Tavistock & Portman NHS Trust, where more than 22 percent of leavers post-referendum were EU nationals.

However the picture varied across the country.

In West Hertfordshire, for example, 27.7 per cent of new recruits were from EU countries, and numbers of EU workers actually went up by a percentage point.

Overall across the country, the research found that EU nationals make up a larger share of staff leaving NHS jobs after the referendum than they did before it.