BREXIT is making the National Health Service staffing crisis locally even worse, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for Bromsgrove, Dr David Nicholl, has warned.

Figures published by the Liberal Democrats reveal that 155 EU staff working at the two Trusts Dr Nicholl works at in Birmingham (University Hospital Birmingham and Sandwell & West Birmingham NHS Trust) have already left the NHS this year, including 87 nurses and midwives.

In the three years since the Brexit vote, 320 NHS staff from the EU have left these two trusts.

Dr Nicholl said: “Staff departures from the two Trusts I work at in Birmingham – University Hospital Trust and Sandwell and West Birmingham Trust - are part of a worrying national trend: over 3,250 NHS staff from the EU have left the health service so far this year, including 1,116 nurses.

“These shocking figures reveal the damage Brexit has already done to the NHS in the West Midlands and it’s set to get worse under the Tories.

"Data for Worcestershire is not available but only yesterday I had doctors coming to campaign with me, including a paediatric anaesthetist who has seen his department collapse due to the departure of German colleagues in the last two years.

“The Conservatives’ obsession with Brexit has already cost our NHS dearly, and it's why I am standing [for election].

"Now the Tories want to clobber hardworking NHS staff with a nurse tax that will cost them thousands to come and work in the NHS.

"It’s no wonder that NHS staff from the EU in the West Midlands are leaving their posts. Unfortunately, it’s patient care that will suffer as a result.

“Only the Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit to protect our NHS.

"We will make clear to staff from the EU that they are valued, tackle the staffing crisis and invest an extra £35 billion in health and social care.”

The data, based on responses to Freedom of Information requests across 50 NHS hospital trusts, reveals that:

• Over 11,600 NHS staff from the EU have left the health service in the three years since the Brexit vote, including 4,783 nurses.

• Over 3,252 NHS staff from the EU have left the health service so far this year (Jan - Oct 2019), including 1,116 nurses.

The Liberal Democrats have warned that shortages of NHS staff will get even worse under Conservative plans that would see EU nationals charged a “nurse tax” worth thousands of pounds to come and work for the NHS.

Nurses and other health professionals from the EU do not currently pay any fees to come and work for the NHS.

However, under Conservative proposals, visa fees and the NHS surcharge would be extended to EU workers, meaning an EU nurse would have to pay £1,089 to work in the NHS for the first year and £3,589 for five years.