Phil Norrey, chief executive of Devon County Council, says vulnerable people in Devon may lose out if the future of the workforce in care homes and hospitals post-Brexit is not properly planned. Mr. Norrey made the disclosure on Monday while speaking on a Brexit panel as part of the Heart of the South West LEP annual conference held in Exeter.
According to him, “Workforce for us is absolutely critical, particularly in health and care. Four percent of the NHS workforce are EU citizens and it is around six percent in health and social care more broadly”.
Shaffra Gray-Reid from the Home Office told the panel government had conducted a pilot test which seeks to allow interested EU citizens and families to remain in the UK post Brexit once checks on proof of identification, residence and criminal history are conducted.
According to Ms. Gray-Reid, “There has been a lot of ambiguity but the Prime Minister has been very clear that there is no question of asking EU citizens to leave.”
Mr. Norrey welcomed the idea but insisted EU nationals do not feel welcome.
According to him, “The message we are getting back is that quite a lot of our EU national workforce are saying they don’t actually feel very welcome here and there’s a psychological impact of all of this. We have to get the message across that this isn’t actually the case post Brexit. EU nationals are very welcome to work here.”
Mr. Norrey is a member of the Brexit Resilience and Opportunities Group, a joint LEP and Local Authority group that seeks to ‘shine a searchlight into the fog of Brexit.”