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Oxford University Hospitals and MPs emphasise NHS European staff are vital


As the UK prepares to leave the EU at 11pm today (Friday 31 January 2020), the Chief Executive Officer of Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust, Dr Bruno Holthof (pictured), himself a Belgian citizen, will send a personal message to European staff working in the Trust to thank them for everything that they do.

Both he and Jane Nicholson, the Trust's Interim Chief People Officer, have also recorded video messages which will be available on social media. The messages emphasise how valued all our European and other overseas staff are, and encourage staff who have not yet done so to apply for settled status.

Dr Holthof said: "Like me, more than 1,500 staff working for Oxford University Hospitals are nationals of other European nations. The contribution of staff from the EU, and indeed all over the world, is one of the strengths of the NHS in general and OUH specifically.

"And so today I want to reiterate my commitment to them that we want them to stay with us at OUH.

"I would encourage everyone to show your support for our European staff colleagues in the spirit of the inclusive culture which we pride ourselves on.

"We serve a diverse community in Oxfordshire and beyond, and this is reflected in the diversity of our workforce."

Oxfordshire MPs have sent messages of support to European staff working at OUH.

Robert Courts, MP for Witney and West Oxfordshire said:

"I am hugely grateful for the huge contribution EU citizens make to our NHS, both locally and nationally. They care for us and our loved ones and should know that they are deeply valued, now and always.

"I welcome the steps the Government has taken to ensure that all EU citizens can continue to live and work in the UK with the same rights as they enjoy today. 2.5 million EU citizens have already had their rights guaranteed through the Government's Settled Status scheme - and I was pleased to read that OUH will support any EU staff who have not already applied to the scheme to do so."

Anneliese Dodds, MP for Oxford East said:

"The contributions of European staff at Oxford University Hospitals are greatly valued amongst our community here in Oxford, our NHS simply wouldn't be able to function without your hard work and sacrifice. Over the coming months and years I will do all I can to ensure that you feel valued and secure in your jobs and community, and am happy to help with any concerns you may have in light of our exit from the EU."

Layla Moran, MP for Oxford West & Abingdon said:

"EU citizens have been a huge benefit to every part of our society, including, crucially, the NHS. With hundreds of thousands of EU nationals working tirelessly in all parts of our health service I'm sure we all have stories of an EU national who has helped our loved ones or ourselves in a time of need.

"The NHS has had a long and proud history of employing people from all over the world, which is one of the main reasons why it is so great. My hope is that in a post-Brexit Britain the NHS will remain a service with employees from all around the world, as well as having a Government that addresses the concerns of EU citizens who are already in this country."

Victoria Prentis, MP for North Oxfordshire said:

"Although we are leaving the EU, I strongly believe Europe and the European people will remain our friends and allies. NHS staff from the EU have played a very important role the NHS over the years. You are all so dedicated in your support for the NHS. I am so pleased the Government has promised that EU nationals working in the UK will be able to remain with the same rights. We want you to all feel at home in the UK after Brexit."

In addition, Rosalind Pearce, Executive Director of Healthwatch Oxfordshire, said: "Healthwatch Oxfordshire often hears from people who say what excellent care they receive from staff at OUH. We hope that all staff will continue to feel valued for the vital work they do for Oxfordshire's patients."