Kettering Hospital has nearly 200 members of EU staff, new figures reveal

Kettering General Hospital
Kettering General Hospital

More than 11 per cent of doctors at Kettering General Hospital are from the European Union - a statistic that may cause concern among patients as Brexit uncertainty deepens.

The hospital has 199 members of staff from the EU, which include 49 of its 434 doctors.

Seven per cent of nurses are also from the EU - 68 of a total of 1006.

That’s compared to hospitals across the country which have an average of five per cent of staff from the EU.

The figures, which were compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism have prompted senior NHS figures to say they may soon not be able to fill posts as European recruitment dries up, with knock-on effects on waiting times, operating theatre capacity and beds.

Recruitment from the EU has “plummeted”, said Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, warning that if numbers of nurses continued to fall then waiting times would go up dramatically.

“We would have to close capacity because we couldn’t man the beds or run the theatres. Costs would go up because we had to rely on agency staff and they are more expensive.”

There are now 41,000 nursing vacancies across England - a shortage level that the Royal College of Nursing warned last year would make the NHS “unsafe”.

There is also a shortage of doctors, with 11,500 vacancies recorded in the latest figures from NHS Improvement figures, up from 10,800 the year before.

Responded to the findings, a Department for Health spokesperson said the number of EU nationals working in the NHS had increased since the referendum.

The DoH spokesperson said the “NHS is preparing for all situations”, but stressed that EU staff in the NHS “will be among the first to be able to secure their settled status”.

In August 2016, KGH announced they had succesfully recruited 72 EU nurses after a drive to fill a high vacancy rate.

Kettering General Hospital’s Director of Human Resources and Organisational Development, Mark Smith, said: “Overall the Trust has about 200 staff from EU countries a proportion of which are doctors, nurses and other health professionals.

“Clearly the number of staff we employ from different countries will vary from year to year as people progress their careers.

“We are aware that nationally, and internationally, there are some concerns about EU staff working in the UK post the Brexit arrangements but at KGH we remain committed to maintaining equal opportunities in this area for all EU staff.

“At KGH we aim to support all of our overseas staff who do such an amazing job caring for our patients in times of ever rising demand for NHS services.”