Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

New group to lobby on behalf of EU nurses in NHS


Leading nursing organisations are represented in a new coalition of health and social care experts formed to lobby on behalf of European Union staff in the wake of the Brexit vote.

According to those behind it, the coalition of 29 organisations will aim to ensure a sustainable health and social care workforce supply while the UK withdraws from the EU.

“We will provide a focal point for engagement with relevant government departments”

Danny Mortimer

The group said it would represent a focal point for providing “expertise, evidence and knowledge” to those leading the UK’s Brexit negotiations on issues affecting the health and social care sectors.

It would be a “shared voice” that influences and lobbies on post-EU referendum issues that affect the social care and health workforce, said a statement launching the coalition.

The group would, in particular, ensure there was a “robust evidence base” to support workforce policy across social care and health, it said.

Ongoing concerns have been raised about the uncertain future status of the thousands of EU workers currently propping up the NHS and social care sector, with one recent report calling for them to be given automatic UK citizenship.

The new group has been named the Cavendish Coalition after the location of the Royal College of Nursing’s London headquarters, where it first met.

“The first priority must be to guarantee the futures of these committed EU staff”

Janet Davies

Coalition members include the RCN, the Royal College of Midwives, Unison, NHS Employers, Care England and the Registered Nursing Home Association (see below for full list).

Among its first moves has been to submit evidence to a cross-party inquiry, chaired by Labour MP Gisela Stuart, that will examine options for guaranteeing the status of EU nationals living in the UK.

The coalition highlighted that it was “united in its belief” that EU citizens working in the UK’s social care and health sectors should remain in the country.

It said it was committed to securing the workforce required to deliver continuing quality in health and social care through the following actions:

Supporting the economic as well as social health of the communities we work within, through the creation of opportunities for training and employment

Promoting employment policy and practice which ensures that the UK continues to be able to attract vital skills from Europe and around the world to work in health and social care

Danny Mortimer cut out masthead

Danny Mortimer cut out masthead

Danny Mortimer

Seeking certainty for those already working in the UK by advocating for the right of the current health and social care workforce originating from European Economic Area members to remain here

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said: “This coalition of health and social care experts will be a shared voice, working together to ensure continuing quality in health and social care post-EU referendum.

“We will provide a focal point for engagement with relevant government departments and NHS arms-length bodies and regulators on the workforce issues arising from the Brexit vote,” he said.

“We will also work together to ensure we continue to promote opportunities for employment within social care and health, particularly in our local communities and only where necessary, internationally,” said Mr Mortimer.

janet davies

janet davies

Janet Davies

He added: “The hard work begins now. First and foremost we need to influence and support the government in a way which allows it to grant indefinite leave to remain for the 144,000 EU workers in health and social care.”

Janet Davies, RCN chief executive and general secretary, said: “Our health and social care services have been relying on hardworking and talented EU nurses and others for many years. The first priority must be to guarantee the futures of these committed EU staff.

“Allowing any ongoing ambiguity is the wrong way of treating people who care for our friends and family every day, and continues to make recruitment and retention even more difficult,” she said.


The Cavendish Coalition:

  • Association of Directors of Adult Social Services – Margaret Willcox, vice president
  • Academy of Medical Royal Colleges – Professor Dame Sue Bailey DBE, chair
  • Association for Real Change – Lisa Lenton, England director
  • Association of UK University Hospitals – Peter Homa CBE, chair
  • British Medical Association – Dr Mark Porter, council chair
  • Care England – Professor Martin Green OBE, chief executive
  • Chartered Society of Physiotherapy – Karen Middleton CBE, chief executive
  • Mental Health Network – Rebecca Cotton, director of mental health policy
  • National Association of Primary Care – Dr Nav Chana, chair
  • National Care Association – Nadra Ahmed OBE, chair
  • New NHS Alliance – Merron Simpson, chief executive
  • NHS Clinical Commissioners – Julie Wood, chief executive
  • NHS Confederation – Stephen Dalton, chief executive
  • NHS Employers – Daniel Mortimer, chief executive
  • NHS European Office – Elisabetta Zanon, director
  • NHS Partners – David Hare, chief executive
  • NHS Providers – Chris Hopson, chief executive
  • Northern Ireland Confederation for Health and Social Care – Heather Moorhead, director
  • Pharmacy Voice – Elizabeth Wade, director of policy
  • Registered Nursing Home Association – Frank Ursell, chief executive
  • Royal College of Nursing, Janet Davies – chief executive and general secretary
  • Shelford Group – Sir Michael Deegan, chair
  • Skills for Care – Sharon Allen, chief executive
  • National Care Forum – Vic Rayner, executive director
  • Royal College of Midwives – Professor Cathy Warwick CBE, chief executive
  • Welsh NHS Confederation – Vanessa Young, director
  • Unison – Christina McAnea, head of health
  • United Kingdom Homecare Association – Bridget Warr CBE, chief executive
  • Voluntary Organisations Disability Group – Professor Rhidian Hughes, chief executive

Readers' comments (2)

  • This ought to have been in place before the Referendum. The promise of a Ref. was in the Conservative manifesto, so it would be controversial if it were not acted upon. As such, the Ref. could only yield one of two responses. Had there had been in 'In' vote, I should expect there to be equal concern about 1) the implications of TTIP on the NHS; 2) that an 'In' vote would likely result in a changing of the guard at Parliament which would then lead to another In/Out Ref.

    Either way, more overt planning ought to have been in place. Judging by the articles in the NT, more emphasis was on what it would mean, rather than on what systems were in place within the NHS. The NHS seemed to just be waiting for what the Gov. would do in a one-step-behind sort of way.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Nobody should automatically be given indefinite leave to remain. One of many reasons that people voted for Brexit was uncontrolled and unsustainable immigration. The government should concentrate on getting UK people trained as nurses, retaining existing UK nurses and tackle why so many UK nurses have left the profession. Can't nurses see that until this desperate, cheaper work force is eliminated that trusts will not improve working conditions!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.