Almost 150,000 health and care workers 'at risk from Brexit'

NEARLY 150,000 health and adult social care workers in England could lose their right to live and work in the UK after Brexit, the TUC has claimed.

Analysis by the unions body said London risks losing 40,100 workers - 13 per cent of its care workers and 9.8 per cent of NHS staff - if EU workers are no longer allowed to remain after Britain leaves the EU. The South East, East of England and South West would also be significantly affected.

The TUC warned that with cuts to bursaries leading to fewer UK-born workers training for key roles, ministers must develop a plan to prevent staff shortages. This should include measures to both retain current workers and recruit new ones.

It must also stop care work being a "byword for low-paid, zero-hours jobs with little opportunity for progression".

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady said the Government's refusal to confirm EU workers' status post-Brexit is creating "appalling uncertainty" for health and social care staff.

"It's a terrible way to treat dedicated public servants. And if Brexit means they have to leave, our health and social care services will struggle to cope," she added.

"The Prime Minister should guarantee EU citizens living and working in Britain the right to remain in the UK - and she should do it now, ahead of negotiations. It's the right thing to do. And it will regain some of the goodwill Britain needs to negotiate the best possible Brexit deal."

According to research by charity Independent Age and the International Longevity Centre-UK, there are almost 84,000 migrants from the European Economic Area working in social care. Of these, 78,000 do not have British citizenship.

In addition, almost 80 per cent of migrants who came to the UK to work in social care in 2016 came from within the EEA.

Around 1.43m people work in social care in England.