Help us get MPs talking about Brexit and the NHS

By Stuart Bonar, RCM Public Affairs Advisor on 19 March 2018 NHS Brexit

Hard as it may be to believe, in the almost two years since the referendum, MPs have never debated the impact of Brexit on the NHS. With 20,000 EU nurses, 10,000 EU doctors and well over 1,000 EU midwives working just in England’s NHS, this is an issue that Parliament needs to discuss. Now, thanks to an organisation called More United, it will.

More United ran a campaign encouraging its supporters to email their local Members of Parliament calling for a debate. After thousands of emails were sent, 46 MPs from five different parties secured the debate. It’s taking place on Thursday 22 March.

We’re asking you to encourage MPs to get along and speak, and here’s why we think it’s important that they do…

There are 1,388 midwives working in the NHS in England who come from elsewhere in the EU. Take into account their working hours, and it’s the equivalent of 1,219 full-time midwives. Collectively, they provide care for around 40,000 women each year – that’s a substantial contribution.

The problem for the NHS is that the vote to leave the EU has seen the number of new EU midwives registering with the NMC fall off a cliff. In the 12 months after the EU referendum the number of EU midwives joining the NMC register fell 94 per cent! In short: fewer EU midwives are coming and more EU midwives are leaving.

There was a net loss of 183 EU midwives between October 2016 and September 2017. At that rate, there would be no EU midwives left in the UK within a decade. With the RCM’s current estimate that the NHS in England is short of 3,500 full-time midwives, that would leave an already overstretched service having to take on the care of the 40,000 women currently being cared for by EU midwives.

And apart from all that, Brexit has thrown the lives of many people into great uncertainty. People from elsewhere in the EU living here in the UK still can’t be certain of what life after Brexit holds for them, and the same goes for Brits living in another EU country. They deserve action now to give them peace of mind.

Please do email your email to encourage them to get along and speak in this important Commons debate. More United have a great webpage about the debate, and if you click on “Write to your MP” and input your postcode, it automatically generates an email to your MP (although please feel free to add some of the detail above about midwives to the text).

Thank you.