Brexit could cost the UK £3bn in lost EU medical talent alone

NHS nurse on a hospital ward. Photo: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images

Hiring medical professionals from the EU has earned the UK over £3bn in the last five years, a study has found.

According to the study by digital healthcare providers Medbelle, income taxes account for almost £1.5bn, while the money saved on education due to hiring EU medical professionals who were trained overseas totals to a further £1.6bn.

Right now the UK government is facing the monumental task of preparing Britain for Brexit.

READ MORE: EU migration falls to lowest in a decade as “Brexodus” grows

With the UK medical industry operating with most of its talent sourced outside of the UK, Britain’s departure from the EU could have a devastating impact on the NHS.

Danny Mortimer of NHS Employers earlier this year revealed recruitment from across the continent has already “plummeted”. Should it continue to fall, waiting times could dramatically increase.

But it could also cost the UK billions of pounds in lost tax and education costs, the latest figures show.

READ MORE: No-deal Brexit could cause “critical medicine shortages” for NHS

The money gained or saved by hiring EU medical professionals between 2014 and 2018, the UK could pay for the entire UK government – including salaries – for that duration and some, the study estimated.

In fact, it could run both Houses of Parliament, as well as supporting organisations, for around 5 years and 7 months, at a cost of £552m a year.

Or it could finance two years of no-deal Brexit preparation, at cost of about £1.5bn per year.

Alternatively, it could pay for for 3,456 MRI scanners, at £895,000 per scanner.

Or 562,427 hip operations, at £5,500 per operation.

Or it could pay the salaries of 57,928 nurses with five years of professional experience for one year, at an average yearly salary of £53,400.

READ MORE: What the UK needs for the NHS to survive after Brexit

David Kolb, CEO of Medbelle, said: “Everyone working within the UK medical profession knows the huge value that foreign-born doctors and nurses bring to the UK in terms of their experience, wealth of knowledge and support.

“But what is often overlooked is how much the government has saved in terms of education.

He added: “We hope that this study can shine a light on the value of foreign labour in the medical industry, and that those in charge will be adequately prepared to increase funding into medical education to compensate after Brexit.”