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Health committee chair calls for ‘unequivocal right to remain’ for EU doctors

House of Commons Health Committee chair and former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston has called for all EU doctors practising in the NHS to be given immediate guarantees about their future in the UK.

Dr Wollaston, speaking in an exclusive interview with Pulse, said that the ‘very significant’ part of the NHS workforce which is made up of EU nationals should be given an ‘unequivocal right to remain’.

It comes as the Health Committee’s enquiry into the effect on NHS of the UK’s exit from the EU started earlier this week, with GMC chief executive Charlie Massey among those expressing concern about the impact on the NHS workforce.

This followed a GMC survey showing that 60% of EU doctors were thinking of quitting the UK in light of Brexit and a BMA survey showing a similar result.

In her Pulse interview, Dr Wollaston said this issue would be one of the key themes of the committee’s Brexit enquiry.

She said: ‘We’ll be considering the position of those [EU nationals] who work in health and social care – and that’s a very, very significant part of our workforce.

‘My view is that they should be given an unequivocal right to remain.’

Dr Wollaston also spoke to Pulse about the importance of ensuring the funding pledged to general practice in the GP Forward View is delivered to the frontline, and said health education leaders should work on making it easier for doctors in other specialties to switch to a career in general practice – like she did at the beginning of her own medical career.