Nottingham’s hospitals have begun work to prepare themselves for any change which could come from Brexit.
Following the referendum result in 2016, the UK is expected to leave the European Union on March 29 next year.
One of the areas which could be impacted is healthcare, and now Nottingham University Hospital NHS Trust (NUH) has begun to examine what it could mean for them.
Two reports have been published, one showing the impact Brexit could have on members of staff, and another on continuing the uninterrupted supply of drugs.
An analysis of the workforce showed that NUH has 15,815 employees, of which 690 identified as being a non-British EU National – 4.4 percent of the workforce.
Some staff members feel that they have been forgotten and are unsettled and anxious because of the uncertainty of their employment due to Brexit
The largest representation of EU staff is in nursing and midwifery, which has 31 percent of the trust’s non-British EU staff.
The trust said 277 employees who were EU nationals had left the trust since the referendum, but that their reasons for leaving were variable, and that they were: “unable to identify whether there is direct correlation between these staff members leaving and Brexit.”
A report on the issue said: “Staff members have shared their views and concerns about Brexit through a number of channels.
“Some staff members feel that they have been forgotten and are unsettled and anxious because of the uncertainty of their employment due to Brexit.
“Despite immediate reassurance issued by the trust following the referendum, there is a feeling of insecurity from non-British EU staff.
EU staff are concerned about the culture and attitudes of people in the UK and a feeling of antipathy towards EU people in the country after the Brexit vote
“In addition, discussion as part of the recent nursing and midwifery recruitment and retention forum highlighted a general feeling that the EU staff are concerned about the culture and attitudes of people in the UK and a feeling of antipathy towards EU people in the country after the Brexit vote and they don’t feel welcome here.”
The trust is considering sponsoring the applications of its EU members of staff for the Settlement Scheme, which becomes operational in March next year.
It would mean that the trust would pay the £65 fee per person for the Government’s scheme, which will allow EU citizens in the UK to continue living here.
It estimates the cost of funding an application for each EU member of staff to be £44,850.
The trust has also looked at what would happen to drug supply in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
It said a no-deal Brexit: “May impact on procuring and timely supply of goods and services which could disrupt health and social care services that are delivered by NUH.”
All trusts have been asked by the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) to carry out a “Simple review of those contracts deemed to be higher risk to the provision of healthcare services at 29th March 2019.”
It found that: “The NUH Supplies Team has interrogated the total NUH supplier database of 3045 suppliers and, having discounted the “out of scope” suppliers and those suppliers with whom we spend less than £10k per month, has identified a total of 322 suppliers that have needed further assessment and evaluation.
“The 322 suppliers identified for review have been evaluated, and all suppliers have a current contract that, according to our database, does not expire before March 29 2019.
“We are in the process of verifying this statement by contacting each of the 322 suppliers to ensure that contract documentation is fully up to date.”