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EU doctors and nurses in the South East must be given right to stay

March 8, 2017 4:02 PM

Lynne BeaumontThe Liberal Democrats have called on Folkestone and Hythe MP Damian Collins to ensure thousands EU nationals living in Kent 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 8,242 working in social care. 816 EU nationals works as doctors, and 5,488 as nurses in Kent, Surrey and Sussex alone. 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.

Lynne Beaumont, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson for Folkestone and Hythe, said:

"The Government needs to think again over how it is treating the thousands of EU citizens living in Kent.

"NHS and care services in 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."