Guy’s and St Thomas’ maternity wards could be severely impacted by Brexit as nearly one in five of its midwives are EU workers, the News can reveal.
According to NHS Digital Data obtained by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Trust 18.9 per cent of midwives are EU workers – the third highest percentage of all London’s NHS Trusts.
Officials believe Brexit could create a crisis in London’s maternity wards after falling interest by EU workers – with some hospital trusts, Like University College London, stopping recruitment campaigns on the continent due to lack of interest.
Just 33 midwives arrived from the EU in the last year up to March 2018, an 88 per cent fall from the previous year, according to NHS Digital.
Gill Walton, chief executive of Royal College of Midwives says despite 2000 midwives being trained last year, the overall number of full time midwives increased by just 67 because so many existing midwives left.
She said: “We only seem to add one midwife for every 30 that we train. This is of deep concern.
“This isn’t because those new midwives don’t get hired – they do – but they only just make up for all the existing midwives who retire or leave for other reasons during the course of the year.
“So, we can barely keep pace as it is. If we lose the 1,700 EEA-trained midwives then this situation will get a whole lot worse.”
Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers says EU recruitment has stalled for a number of reasons, including the referendum; the current value of sterling making moving unappealing and new language test brought in by the government since 2016.
“We have absolutely seen applications from within the EU drop. Just plummet. Graphs show EU nurses arriving up until the referendum and – from that result onwards – within six months, it just drops like a stone,” he said.
“NHS employers haven’t known what to say when going out to recruit as they don’t know the implications in terms of EU staff’s migration status.”