Some 10,000 EU staff have quit the NHS in the year since last summer’s Brexit vote.
Official data published today showed that between 30 June 2016 and 30 June 2017, 9,832 EU nationals left the NHS, an increase of 22% on the previous year.
The lead-up to the referendum also appeard to drive EU nationals to quit, as the numbers leaving NHS in 2015/16 was 44% higher than in 2014/15.
The Liberal Democrats said this was a result of the Government’s refusal to guarantee the rights of EU nationals in Britain as part of its ‘heartless’ negotiation tactics.
Party leader Sir Vince Cable called on Prime Minister Theresa May to use a speech tomorrow to assure EU nationals’ rights.
Sir Vince said: ‘We are losing thousands of high-quality nurses and doctors from the NHS, driven partly by this Government’s heartless approach to the Brexit talks.
‘Theresa May must make a bold offer to the EU to ring-fence negotiations on citizens’ rights and come to a rapid agreement.’
He added that the time has come to end the tactic of using EU nationals ‘as bargaining chips’ condemning it as ‘morally wrong, utterly counterproductive and damaging to our NHS.’