Anaesthetists respond to workforce challenges as a result of Brexit
Responding to the Nuffield Trust’s findings that Brexit has reduced the size of the anaesthetic workforce, President of the Association of Anaesthetists Dr Matt Davies said:
“Anaesthetists are involved in the treatment of more than 60% of patients in the NHS and are a key part of any plans to address ever-increasing NHS waiting lists for surgery.
"We already know that the specialty is facing significant shortages in the workforce – with current and conservative estimates putting the deficit at 1,400 and rising.
“It is of deep concern then that the Nuffield Trust has found that since Brexit, the NHS has lost an estimated 400 anaesthetists who were expected to come from EU countries.
“We have known for some time that the increased bureaucracy, paperwork, and lack of visa opportunities have been a barrier to doctors working here from the EU. This data now proves the real impact of the current policy.
“Anaesthesia has a significant proportion of doctors originally from EU countries working in the specialty. That is why these findings are particularly worrying.
"This is a loss of workforce which the NHS simply cannot afford.
“We are further disappointed with the UK Government’s response to the findings, with them believing the analysis is ‘inaccurate’ and saying that ‘they don’t recognise or agree with its key conclusions’.
“This loss of crucial workforce simply exacerbates the existing shortage, whose causes are numerous, including poor retention policies (such as the current pension taxation regime), a lack of sufficient training places provided and a workplace that does not value clinicians.
“Research findings such as the Nuffield Trust’s again highlight the urgent need for the governments of the UK to prioritise recruitment and retention in anaesthesia and in other specialities where there is a significant workforce gap.”