In NHS England in September 2013, 11% of all staff (and 26% of doctors) who work for NHS England and in community health services were non-British. GPs are not included in the figures because they are not employed by the NHS.
The British Medical Association (BMA) observed that without the contribution of non-British staff, “many NHS services would struggle to provide effective care to their patients”.
There is also a moral dimension: for many years, the NHS has actively encouraged overseas doctors and nurses to move to the UK. Health services in the countries they had left could also suffer.
About 5% of NHS trust staff in England, 10% of doctors and 4% of nurses are citizens of another EU country – compared to around 5% of the population of England. That’s 55,000 out of the 1.2 million staff in NHS England.
There are no accurate figures on how many European doctors and nurses are currently employed by NHS Scotland.