play_circle_filled In progress

Brexit and Europe Brexit and Europe

Protect the 140,000 health and care staff from EU countries

Last updated: 06:04pm 12 February 2019

We will make it a priority in our negotiations with the European Union that the 140,000 staff from EU countries can carry on making their vital contribution to our health and care system.

Conservative Party Manifesto 2017, p.66

Our verdict

You could consider this policy as part the promise to secure the entitlements of EU nationals in Britain. This particular promise relates to the 60,000 or more NHS workers and the 90,000 workers in social care who come from EU countries. You may notice that those figures add up to 150,000 (10,000 more than the government’s figure in their manifesto) – but those seem to be the numbers which are consistently reported. Either way, we’re talking about people from EU countries who work in health or social care.

The impact of Brexit on the health and care system has been one of the (many) big talking points around Brexit. We have included some links below that contain the detail, but we will be looking purely for evidence to show the progress of this policy.

In terms of progress, the UK didn’t call out NHS or social care workers specifically in the Brexit policy paper. Similarly, the NHS Long Term Plan, launched in January 2019, has a very little to offer in terms of retaining EU nationals in the health and care system:

“We want staff from the EEA that are currently working across the NHS to stay after the UK exits the European Union. Many trusts are now meeting the cost of applying for settled status for their staff from the EEA. NHS England and NHS Improvement will directly monitor NHS staffing flows post-Brexit to advise government on any necessary consequential action.”

This doesn’t really give us much beyond an ambition that staff from EU countries stay after Brexit. However, given the broader policy to secure the entitlements of EU nationals in Britain is ‘in progress’, this policy can also be considered ‘in progress’. For it to be considered ‘done’, we’ll be looking for evidence that the 140,000+ workers are not negatively impacted after we leave the EU. We’ll keep tracking this beyond our exit from the EU and will update this page when there is significant news. Follow this policy to get updates.

Interesting reads…

Related policies

There's always room for debate

We’re serious about providing clear, up-to-date, non-partisan information. We focus on being consistent and fair in how we reach our verdicts, and always explain our reasoning. But there is always room for debate. So if you see it differently, we’d love you to tell us why. Or even better, submit an edit.