Significant risks associated with Brexit but the NHS across Wales is continuing to plan for a no-deal which we see as the worst-case scenario.
- Our priority is that patients do not suffer as a result of the Brexit process. Even if there is a no-deal we cannot have no agreement about how to protect patients in Wales, the UK and across Europe. We are therefore calling on both the UK Government and the European Commission to guarantee patient safety whatever happens. That means free movement of medicines, free movement of medical devices and supplies for as long as it takes to resolve these concerns.
- This is an unprecedented situation for the health service. Of course, the NHS can adapt to emergencies, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek to avoid them. No-deal and no arrangements to protect patients is simply not acceptable and could potentially impact on the quality of services and impact on people’s lives.
- Currently 1,450 individuals directly employed by the NHS in Wales identified themselves as EU nationals on the Electronic Staff Record.
- Health and social care requires a future immigration system which is responsive, agile and easy-to-use for both employers and those applying. We are extremely concerned about whether the visa proposals in the UK Government’s Immigration White Paper will encourage the numbers of care staff that social care needs to sustain services and we want a guarantee from the UK Government that its settled status programme for EEA nationals will be honoured in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
- Both the UK and the Welsh Government have engaged with the health service in Wales on several issues and listened to the concerns that we have raised and responded to them and we will continue this engagement over the coming days, weeks and months.