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Brexit: Southwark hospitals to pay EU workers settlement fees to avoid staffing crisis

Southwark hospitals are to pay for their EU workers’ ‘settled status’ applications in a bid to avoid them leaving the NHS during Brexit.

The ‘Settled status’ gives EU citizens permission to stay in the UK for as long as they like and allows them to apply for British citizenship.

The scheme will formally open by March 2019, but EU citizens working in the NHS are able to apply for the status from the end of November.

Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Trust and King’s College NHS Trust are among those who will pay reimburse staff for the cost of their applications.

The application costs £65 for those aged 16 and over.

Approached by the News, a spokesperson from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have around 2,000 EU staff, including over 750 nurses and midwives.

“This is the right thing to do for our EU staff who are a vital part of Guy’s and St Thomas’ and is also a cost effective way to support staff retention.

“Like all our staff, EU colleagues are valued members of our team who make an enormous contribution to the services we provide every day.”

King’s College NHS Trust also confirmed to the News that it would pay for the EU settlement charge for its ‘substantive’ EU workers.

A spokesperson for the Trust said: “Our EU colleagues are an essential part of Team King’s and make a substantial contribution to our patients.

“We will do all that we can to enable them to continue their excellent work and feel valued.”

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As the paper reported earlier this month, Southwark’s hospitals are among those most prone to a Brexit impact on staffing.

Data obtained by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, and shared with the News, revealed that fifteen percent of Guy’s and St Thomas’ frontline staff are from the EU.

The figure rises to almost one in every five for midwives at Guys’ and St Thomas’ being from the EU – raising fears about the possible effect of a No Deal Brexit on midwifery provision.

The statistic means the Trust has the third highest level of EU midwives in London.

12.5% of King’s College NHS Trust frontline staff are also from the European Union.

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