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EU survey 2018

The background

A BMA survey of over 1,500 EU doctors working in the UK has found that less than a quarter have faith in the Prime Minister's commitment to protect their rights in the event of a no-deal Brexit, with over a third making plans to move abroad following Brexit.

EU doctors make up a significant amount of the NHS workforce, many dedicating years of their lives to the health service and providing high quality care that patients depend on.

That a third of EU doctors are considering leaving the UK, with Brexit being an overriding factor, presents a real risk to the NHS workforce and its ability to provide safe care for patients. 

EU doctor survey 2018  



Key findings

  • 78 per cent of EU doctors working in the UK are not reassured by the Prime Minister’s commitment to protect the rights of EU citizens in the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit
  • 37 per cent of EU doctors are not aware of the Government’s 'settled status' scheme for EU nationals
  • The top four reasons to leave the UK are all Brexit related:            
    - The UK’s decision to leave the EU              
    - The current negative attitude toward EU workers in the UK 
    - Uncertainty over personal immigration status in the future 
    - The way the UK government treats EU workers
  • More than 35 per cent of EU doctors are considering moving abroad. When asked about to which country, 18 per cent of those who responded to that question are thinking about leaving Europe entirely
  • 66 per cent of EU doctors are committed to working in the UK


The BMA view

The BMA is calling for the government to formally guarantee the rights of EU citizens should the UK leave without an agreement next March.

While the Prime Minister has said she will honour commitments to EU citizens and their families, the BMA is urging the government to publish a specific statement on their rights in the event of a no-deal without delay.

Letter from BMA Council Chair to the Prime Minister

EU doctor survey 2018


Settled status

Later this month, EU staff working in the NHS and in higher education who wish to stay after Brexit will be able to apply for 'settled status' as part of a government pilot. However, the survey reveals that almost 40 per cent of EU doctors are not aware of this scheme at all. 

While the settlement scheme, which is due to open for all EU nationals from March next year, should grant settled status to those who have lived in Britain for five years (and pre-settled status for those who have lived here for less), the BMA says the government must move quickly to guarantee that it will be honoured if there is no Brexit deal agreed.

We are urging all healthcare workers to apply for settled status as early as possible once the pilot is launched at the end of November 2018. 

EU doctor survey 2018  


EU doctor survey 2018

Further resources

Settled status information - GOV.UK

Navigating Brexit: what next for the NHS? event webcast

Brexit - what it means for the medical profession


Have you been affected?

Find out how Brexit will affect EU nationals in our immigration section

If you have been personally affected by events relating to Brexit you can get emotional support from our Wellbeing support services. Call 0330 123 1245.

Find out more