London NHS Hospitals Could Face £4million Annual Recruitment Bill Post Brexit


New figures have shown that over 1,000 qualified doctors and nurses from other European countries left London NHS hospitals last year.

Emma Brooksbank, Partner and Head of Immigration, explains why a low-cost route for skilled workers to be able to access the UK job market is needed now more than ever.

Creating An Accessible Route For Workers Post Brexit

Under Freedom of Information, immigration law specialists Simpson Millar found that nearly 1,300 European medical staff left London NHS hospitals last year.

The research is based on figures supplied by 12 London NHS Trusts that, between them, employ just under 85,000 staff including over 1,800 doctors and 4,300 nurses who are EEA nationals.

Under current immigration rules, the cost of replacing those who left in 2016 with candidates from outside the UK could potentially be as high as £4,149,103 (£3,199 per employee) once the UK leaves the EU.

"It is absolutely vital for the public sector that Theresa May establishes a low-cost, simple and sensible route for EU workers to access the UK job market post Brexit", Emma comments.

"If the avenue post Brexit requires workers to apply for a visa under the Tier 2 system, the cost burden on the public sector will be substantial. The NHS could be burdened with significant extra costs to squeeze out of already depleted budgets."

"At current Tier 2 rates for a 3-year visa, it would cost the NHS in London over £4million to recruit the same number of EEA doctors and nurses who are leaving in a single year."

"These are just the raw costs of the Immigration Skills Charge and Home Office fee. It does not include any recruitment or legal costs – both of which are likely to increase if the process becomes more difficult and the proposition less attractive."

Putting The NHS At Risk

The cost of a 3-year visa under the current Tier 2 system for employees outside the EEA is £1,187, which includes the Embassy fee and Immigration Health Surcharge.

Emma says: "Britain’s healthcare system desperately needs more skilled workers, but the cost of a visa on top of relocation expenses, legal fees and additional fees for dependants is already prohibitive for some."

"Rules that impose significant costs on new employees will undoubtedly make the UK a less attractive destination for nurses and doctors, who will still have unfettered access to the rest of the European job market."

"This is a worrying development and one that Theresa May must put her mind to addressing during the period of negotiation and transition."

Analysing Freedom Of Information Data

The following Trusts responded to Simpson Millar’s Freedom of Information request:

  • Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
  • Central and North West London NHS Foundation Trust
  • King's College NHS Centre, London
  • North East London NHS Foundation Trust
  • South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust
  • Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust
  • West London Mental Health NHS Trust
  • South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust
  • Barts Health NHS Trust
  • London North West Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust
  • University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust



How many EU and EEA doctors and nurses left your NHS Trust in 2016?

How many EU and EEA doctors and nurses left your NHS Trust in 2015?

How many EU and EEA doctors and nurses left your NHS Trust in 2014?













*Figures representing the total for 12 London NHS Trusts

For more information and to arrange an interview, please contact:

Christina Savage at RTS Media on 0330 113 7998 or email

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