An event has been held by the Isle of Wight NHS Trust to support all European staff working for the NHS on the Island in the lead up to the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU).
Staff from all areas of the NHS came together on Thursday (17th January) to hear how leaving the EU will affect them and what they need to do to secure their rights and gain settlement status in the UK.
The evening was led by Independent subject matter expert, Chris Desira, who has an extensive track record working for the European Commission Representation in the UK, providing advice to the home office, European commission and embassies as well as public and private companies to enable their staff to understand their EU rights.
Chris spoke about the current process that European staff must now follow and the main messages were:
- You will need to gain settlement status to continue exercising your rights in the UK after BREXIT- and you should do this by 31st December 2020 at the latest
- The process is electronic and should be straightforward for most
- Settled status will apply in deal and no deal scenarios
NHS staff raised concerns about the deadline for applications and the impact on their families futures should Britain leave the EU on 29th March 2019.
Dr Oliver Cramer, Anaesthetist and Mental Health & Learning Disabilities Divisional Clinical Director organised the evening. Speaking at the event, Dr Cramer said:
“Being an EU citizen I share the anxieties of many of my European colleagues and their families on this emotional roller coaster we are all on. As health professionals we all make a huge contribution and a real difference to the Island community. The local NHS simply could not function without us and this event is really important, we want to be able to reassure our staff and support them through this period of uncertainty. We cannot afford for staff to leave the Island as a result of Brexit, we love the Island, this is our home and we want to stay.”
The Isle of Wight NHS Trust Board has set up an Executive chaired committee led by Alistair Flowerdew, Medical Director to provide senior leadership through this period. Its scope will include support for the Trust’s EU staff. It is envisaged that the organisation meets the application fee for settled status for staff and will also make available Information Technology (IT) access and relevant guidance centrally.
Maggie Oldham, Chief Executive Officer, said:
“Our European staff are valued members of the Island health community and both our organisation and me are committed to ensuring that all colleagues from the EU keep the rights and freedoms they currently enjoy. I hope staff found this event useful and it has given them some reassurance about the future.”