The Liberal Democrats have called on Maria Caulfield to ensure thousands EU nationals living in Lewes are guaranteed the right to remain in Britain, as figures have revealed the extent to which local NHS services rely on EU nationals.
The news comes after the government was defeated in a historic vote in the House of Lords this week, after peers voted for an amendment to guarantee the right of EU citizens to remain in the UK. The issue will now be voted on by MPs, as pressure mounts on the government to change position.
A total of 270,000 EU nationals live and work in the South East, including 816 doctors, 5,488 nurses and 8,242 working in social care. The Liberal Democrats are calling for an “NHS passport” that would guarantee the right to remain in Britain for all EU nationals who work directly for the NHS.
Kelly-Marie Blundell, Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Lewes spokesperson said:
“The Government needs to think again over how it is treating the thousands of EU citizens living in the South East.
"NHS and care services in Sussex, Surrey and Kent would struggle to cope if all the doctors, nurses and care workers from the EU left because they no longer felt welcome.
"This shows you can’t have a hard Brexit and a strong NHS.
"These people are looking after our sick and elderly, Theresa May must not use them as bargaining chips in the Brexit negotiations.
"The Liberal Democrats will stand up against this Conservative Brexit Government for a Britain that is open, tolerant and united."
EU Residents House of Commons Library analysis of ONS Labour Force Survey microdata (for quarters from Q3 2015 to Q2 2016)
Doctors in South East Source: Commons Research Briefing
Nurses in South East Source: Commons Research Briefing
Social Care professionals in the South East Source: National Minimum Dataset for Social Care