EU workers will have their health and social care qualifications and registration recognised in the UK, regardless of the Brexit outcome, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced today.
Due to new legislation introduced by the Department of Health and Social Care, staff with professional qualifications can continue to practice in the UK as they do now, whether Britain leaves the EU with or without a deal.
This means up to 63,000 NHS staff and 104,000 social care workers who qualified in the EU will have their training and experience accepted by all regulatory bodies for the health and social care sectors.
Employment contracts will not need to be changed if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, and staff won’t have to re-apply for their current positions after exit day.
Hancock said: “Every day across the health and social care system, our EU colleagues and friends make a difference to millions of lives, and this vital legislation means they will be able to continue work here, whatever the Brexit outcome.
“My message to EU staff is clear – we all want you to feel valued and stay in the UK. Today’s announcement builds on our NHS Long Term Plan’s commitment to recruit and retain a world-class workforce over the long term.
“My priority is to make sure high standards are maintained across the healthcare system and patients continue to receive the high-quality care they deserve – this legislation helps ensure that will continue to be the case.”
Care England CEO Professor Martin Green welcomed the Government’s committment.
“EU workers provide a very vital resource in both social care and health, and we must do all we can to ensure they can continue to practice in the UK after Brexit,” he said.
Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers and chair of the Cavendish Coalition of social care and health organisations said: “We have been clear that we must continue to embrace the vital contribution of our talented colleagues from overseas in caring for our patients and communities.
“We very much welcome the news, as will employers and staff, that the UK will recognise the qualifications of EU professionals in a no-deal situation.
“We would hope for similar confirmation of recognition for those with UK qualifications working in the EU.”
The Government is also encouraging EU workers to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme that re-opened on the March 30.
The scheme is now free and those who have lived in the UK for five years or longer can apply for ‘settled status’, whilst those who have lived in the UK for under five years will apply for ‘pre-settled status’.