150,000 social care and NHS jobs at risk following Brexit

Almost 150,000 NHS and adult social care workers are at risk of losing the right to live and work in the UK due to uncertainty around immigration laws following Brexit.

In analysis published by Trades Union Congress (TUC) today, it was revealed that the UK’s health and social care sectors could be seriously affected by the UK’s membership in the EU if workers are forced to leave the country, putting the vulnerable people who are protected by these sectors at risk.

The research looked at the country’s sectors by region, finding that London and the south east would be the worst-affected regions, as a high proportion of the workforce in these areas is supported by EEA migrant workers.

Of the 145,200 workers, more than 90,000 are adult social care staff who make up 13% of the entire workforce in London and 10% in the South East.

A loss of EU workers due to Brexit could risk heaping more misery on a sector that is already struggling to cope with huge demand from an ageing population on an increasingly thin budget, largely due to cuts to local government purses.

The announcement of the findings has also prompted TUC to call on the government for clarity regarding the position of EU migrants in the UK. It also argued ministers should come up with a plan to prevent staff shortages by retaining workers, and outline how more UK workers will be recruited to fill vacated migrant positions.

Commenting on the findings, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The government is creating appalling uncertainty for thousands of NHS workers and care workers. It’s a terrible way to treat dedicated public servants.

“And if Brexit means they have to leave, our health and social care services will struggle to cope.”

O’Grady also sent the message to Theresa May that she should guarantee EU citizens living and working in the UK the right to remain in the country ahead of negotiations in March.

She added: “It’s the right thing to do. And it will regain some of the goodwill Britain needs to negotiate the best possible Brexit deal.”

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