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Revealed: The trusts most reliant on EU staff

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Specialist trusts and those in London have the largest proportions of staff from the European Union, analysis by Nursing Times’ sister title HSJ has shown. 

The chief executive of Great Ormond Street – which has one of the largest proportions of EU staff - has expressed deep concerns about the impact of Brexit.

The trusts most reliant on EU workforce may be more at risk from the prospect of fewer staffing coming to the NHS from the union, or those who are here leaving in the wake of the referndum vote to leave.

The analysis shows non-British EU staff comprise up to 15 per cent of the overall workforce for some individual trusts, and the numbers can be much higher for specific staff groups, such as doctors.

It comes as EU citizens are left wondering how the referendum result will affect their ability to work in Britain, as well as the attractiveness of their roles if employment protections are removed and the pound weakens.

The analysis, based on Health and Social Care Information Centre data from September 2015, found the Royal Brompton and Harefield Foundation Trust employed the biggest proportion of EU staff.

Out of 3,126 full time equivalent staff, 15.2 per cent had said they were from one of the 28 EU countries excluding Britain.

In some cases, individuals may have stated a nationality that reflected their “cultural heritage” rather than place of birth, the HSCIC data states.

This table shows the full top 10:

Trust FTE EU staff** FTE all staff EU FTEs as % of all FTEs
Royal Brompton and Harefield NHS Foundation Trust 478 3127 15.3
Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust 60 478 12.5
University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 899 7234 12.4
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 570 4839 11.8
Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust 364 3210 11.4
Great Ormond Street Hospital For Children NHS Foundation Trust 405 3630 11.1
Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 184 1679 10.9
Whittington Hospital NHS Trust 396 3634 10.9
Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust 893 8257 10.8
Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust 259 2417 10.7

Source: HSCIC, September 2015. ** Self-reported nationality: could include “cultural heritage” rather than place of birth - HSCIC


They are primarily in London and four are specialist trusts, including Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children Foundation Trust, where 11 per cent of staff are from the EU, according to the HSCIC data.

This rises to a quarter of doctors, 16 per cent of nurses and nearly a quarter of research staff, according to latest figures provided by the trust.

GOSH chief executive Peter Steer said the rare and complex diseases seen in children treated at the hospital required clinical and research collaboration across Europe and worldwide.

Dr Steer said the trust was “deeply concerned” about what the future could hold for its staff, services, and research work. It will be seeking early reassurances around the continued employment rights of EU staff as well as around its research collaborations.

“Free movement of labour across the EU is essential and we will endeavour to make this case if necessary as we enter the next phase of this process”

Tavistock and Portman Foundation Trust

Tavistock and Portman Foundation Trust is the only mental health provider on the list, with 12.5 per cent of its workforce hailing from an EU country.

A letter sent from chief executive Paul Jenkins and chair Paul Burstow last week acknowledged the “distress” faced by staff and added: “Without EU care professionals our NHS and social care sector would struggle to function.

“Free movement of labour across the EU is essential and we will endeavour to make this case if necessary as we enter the next phase of this process.”

Mr Jenkins said the note had generated the highest response of any communication he had ever sent as chief executive, with staff expressing a “mixture of shock and concern and not knowing what’s going to happen to them or their colleagues [following the vote]”.

He added: “We’d be diminished if people felt this wasn’t an attractive place for them to come with the ability to study and develop careers in this country.”

There have been isolated reports of NHS staff facing racist abuse around the country in the wake of the referendum.

NHS England medical director Sir Bruce Keogh has called on NHS leaders to reassure staff that they are welcome, while health secretary Jeremy Hunt has called on Britain to value the contribution of EU workers in the health service.

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