The former chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has said the UK’s decision to leave the EU will be a “disaster for healthcare”.
Speaking to The Sun, Peter Carter said: “I think this is going to be a disaster for healthcare, I really do. I just cannot believe the public have been suckered into this.
“Already people like Nigel Farage are saying this £350 million isn’t going to come into the NHS – and it isn’t.
“That is one of the most grossly misleading statements people have made so if the British public think we’re going to get that cash, it simply isn’t going to happen.”
Carter also emphasised the need for a workforce bolstered with immigrants from Eastern Europe, Spain, Portugal and the Republic of Ireland.
“These people have actually kept the NHS afloat,” said Carter. “I know, and people like Boris Johnson know, that even though we leave the EU we will still have to let these people in – we can’t cope without them.”
According to analysis from The Press Association, one in 20 NHS workers in England comes from the EU, which amounts to 57,608 NHS workers and 5% of the total workforce.
Professor Jane Cummings, the chief nursing officer for England has also weighed in on the proportion of EU nationals in the NHS workforce.
She said: “I wanted to take this opportunity to confirm to all EU nurses, midwives and care assistants working in England’s health and care system that you are valued and hugely appreciated.
“You are an integral and vital part of the health and care family, and your skills and compassionate care directly benefit patients, families and communities.
“Your vital contribution to our work together will continue; you are appreciated by me and, most of all, by those we care for.”
Jackie Smith, chief executive and registrar of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), said they would be working with the Government to fully understand the implications of leaving the EU.
She said: “There will be no immediate impact on either the registration status of EU nurses already on our register, or on the NMC in terms of our role as the UK-wide regulator for nursing and midwifery."