Brexit will make it “more difficult to provide safe care”, a high profile nurse campaigner will claim at the People’s Vote march tomorrow in London.
Joan Pons Laplana is set to take to the stage during the Put it to the People March outside parliament on Saturday, in order to raise his concerns over what impact Brexit could have on the health service. The event, which will see a number of speakers, will include a section dedicated to the NHS.
“We are desperate for staff, we cannot afford to turn our backs to our European friends”
Joan Pons Laplana
The march, which will call for a public vote on the final Brexit deal to be held, comes just six days before the government originally planned to take Britain out of the European Union, though this now looks to have been extended until at least the 22 May.
Mr Pons Laplana will address fellow campaigners and warn that “Brexit will be the last nail in the coffin” of the “beloved NHS”, according to his speech seen by Nursing Times.
He is also expected to discuss how leaving the EU will mean that providing safe care would be more difficult and that it could also mean the end of free care altogether.
In addition, he will highlight to attendees that in a time where “we are desperate for staff, we cannot afford to turn our backs to our European friends”.
“I am a nurse and I have a duty of care, I have the duty to tell all of you that Brexit will be the last nail in the coffin of our beloved NHS”
Joan Pons Laplana
Mr Pons Laplana came to the UK 19 years ago to pursue his “dream” of becoming a nurse. In his speech he will tell marchers that from the moment he stepped off the plane he “felt at home”.
As previously reported by Nursing Times, Mr Pons Laplana was one of the first nurses to embark on a new year-long clinical informatics fellowship with NHS Digital last May.
The nurse, who until recently was a transformation nurse at James Paget University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, has just been appointed as lead nurse for digital transformation at Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust.
However, since the referendum in 2016, his life has been “turned upside down”. Mr Pons Laplana will describe to marchers, how since the country’s decision to leave, he has encountered “over a thousand days of uncertainty”, filled with sleepless nights, anxiety and being voiceless.
In a section of the march specifically dedicated to the NHS, Mr Pons Laplana will also highlight that there are people of more than 200 nationalities currently working together in the health service.
“Diversity is what makes it the best health care system in the world,” he is due to say.
Mr Pons Laplana is also expected to explain how more than 10,000 of his EU colleagues “have had enough” and have left the health service already.
“We’re not the reason why our NHS is at its knees,” he will say. “One in four doctors are migrants and one in seven nurses are from overseas.
“We are the reason why our NHS is still standing on its feet,” he will say.
Joan Pons Laplana
Mr Pons Laplana will tell those at the march how “a lot of people” voted for Brexit because they wanted to help the NHS, due to the £350m tagline “splashed” on the side of the red bus campaign.
“Mrs May is playing ‘Russian Roulette’ with your lives,” he will warn.
“I am a nurse and I have a duty of care, I have the duty to tell all of you that Brexit will be the last nail in the coffin of our beloved NHS,” he is due to say.
“Nobody voted to kill the NHS,” he will add. “This is why I demand a people’s vote.”
The march is set to begin at 12pm on Saturday 23 March on London’s Park Lane and is due to end in Parliament Square in Westminster.