People from the EU who work in the health and social care sectors in Wales make a huge contribution to our communities and are extremely valued members of staff.
This is the message from Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Sport and Rebecca Evans, Minister for Social Services and Public Health, following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.
People from the EU play a key role in the operation of our health services, with data showing around 6% of doctors in Wales were trained in another EU country.
Vaughan Gething said:
“Now is the time for us to think clearly about what the decision to leave the EU means for the NHS and its future.
“There will undoubtedly be major challenges ahead - funding, licencing of new medicines and recruitment to name just three. All of those, and more, will require creativity and hard work on the part of all of us in the sector.
“But whatever the challenges we are confronted with I want to convey a very important message. We have staff working in the NHS from right across the EU and the entire globe. I have enormous respect for every single one of them.
“They make a huge contribution to our service and I understand that the referendum result may be causing some inevitable anxiety about what this means for them and their families. I want to reassure any member of staff who may have concerns – be they from the EU or anywhere else in the world – that they are extremely valued and that the NHS will collectively take a zero tolerance approach to any form of intolerance or discrimination that arises in any part of the organisation in the aftermath of this decision.”
Rebecca Evans said:
“EU staff are absolutely vital to the operation of our social care sector. They are some of the thousands of individuals who provide dedicated, dignified, person-centred care day-in-day-out. They are a key part of the world-class, integrated health and social care system we are developing.
“There is no escaping that the recent referendum has caused uncertainty and worry for many. Let me be clear, staff from the EU – and across the world – remain extremely welcome and valued in the health and social care sectors in Wales.
“The First Minister has written to the Home Secretary setting out the Welsh Government’s belief that EU citizens living in the UK should retain the right to do so after the UK withdraws from the EU. Now is the time for the Home Secretary to provide reassurance to those EU citizens who contribute so much to Welsh society, that they will not find their rights of residence removed.”