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Does Brexit mean reviewing your workforce plans?

Wow - did you see the BMA's comments about Doctors from the EEA (European Economic Area) saying more than 40% of European Doctors could quit the UK over Brexit? Apparently more than 40% are now considering leaving Britain. The BMA also said from their survey that a further 25% are unsure if they will stay.

It was reported that there are around 10,000 doctors from Europe in UK hospitals and GP Surgeries. Could the NHS survive if this prediction actually came to pass? The BMA is understandably concerned about the continued supply of medical staff, but what about other staff across the NHS, nurses, midwives, scientists, psychologists, allied health professions and support staff? What does this mean for healthcare workforce planning, and the assessment of available future capacity and capability? Recruitment to some posts in the NHS is already challenging, these recruitment challenges are multi-faceted, some relate to labour market availability, some the attractiveness of environments or locations. Does Brexit exacerbate these known challenges, or bring a new complexity to healthcare recruitment?

Modern healthcare is delivered by teams of people with complimentary skills working together, therefore individual professional shortages at any level will have an impact across the care pathway.

The recruitment concerns raised by the BMA will not be isolated to healthcare. In the media this week the same issues have been debated by other industries, in particular the hospitality industry, agriculture, here their is a focus on arable food production. Does this also impact on Universities, and the stability of the teaching and lecturing workforce across the UK?

So what does this concern mean for HR departments? My advice would be to look at your workforce in detail. If you rely on people from European countries, what is the potential impact on your business continuity? Do any European employees have skills and professional expertise which would be difficult to replace? For European employees this must be time of uncertainty, do this staff group need specific support from HR to let them know the organisation understands their current anxiety?

Under the current rules EU nationals who have been in the UK for 5 years are eligible for automatic permanent resident status. Is it time to do a workforce risk assessment, and then help key workers to apply if they met the criteria? At the very least this process would identify the known risks, and enable the organisation to start thinking about how best to mitigate and reduce them.

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