Peter Bennie, Chair of the BMA in Scotland, has said it is vital that in the wake of the EU referendum result and the continuing political uncertainty NHS staff from the EU working in Scotland feel supported.
Speaking at the end of a turbulent few week in UK-wide politics he said:
“People across the country have been gripped by the political machinations of the last few weeks as politicians and commentators struggle to explain the implications of a vote for the UK to leave the EU.
“It is absolutely understandable, given the lack of clarity on so many of the key issues, that people feel anxious.
“This must be especially true for NHS staff who will have concerns about the financial impact of leaving the EU, with politicians backing Brexit now backtracking on claims that an exit would bring extra cash into the NHS, and a further lack of clarity about what this means for the NHS in Scotland.
“We have many clinical personnel from EU countries and further afield delivering high quality healthcare in Scotland and we have people from Scotland currently studying and working overseas.
“All of them will be wondering what impact an exit from the EU might have on them and how the clinical workforce might be affected in the future.
“In the midst of recruitment and retention problems, the last thing the NHS needs is any further loss of medical staff, so we would encourage politicians in Scotland to provide real and swift assurances for what the vote will mean for people from elsewhere in the EU who live and work in Scotland.
“We want to reassure NHS staff that the contribution they make to the health service in Scotland is recognised and highly valued along with the skills and perspectives they bring from other parts of the EU.
“We would urge politicians to ensure that the Scotland’s health service and those staff who work in it are protected from any detrimental changes.
“The BMA has reaffirmed its commitment to continuing to work with our European partners and the EU to safeguard the future of our profession and the patients we serve.
“Our First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health have both made statements to reassure citizens from other EU countries and indeed further afield that they are welcome in Scotland and their individual contributions form a vital part of our society and economy. BMA Scotland firmly agrees.
“We all have colleagues and friends with whom we live, work and study and on whom the NHS depends and it is vital they know of our continuing commitment to them and willingness to provide support to them should it be needed.”
BMA Scotland can provide expert advice to members who are worried about how their careers and lives could be affected by the UK leaving the EU.