• NHS Employers chief says NHS must focus on being an attractive employer
  • Priority is to secure EU nationals rights post Brexit says Danny Mortimer
  • But he urged NHS to do more to tackle the ”challenge of the next decade”

Making the NHS an attractive employer as part of efforts to tackle workforce shortages “is the challenge of the next decade”, NHS Employers has warned.

Speaking at the NHS Confederation conference in Liverpool NHS Employers chief executive Danny Mortimer said he believed NHS trusts needed to become more “active” in their local communities to “more clearly articulate the brand of the NHS”.

This was part of an effort, he said, that would help shore up the domestic supply of nurses, doctors and other health and care staff to the NHS, in a post-Brexit UK that might face challenges in recruiting staff.

Mr Mortimer said the NHS was often the largest employer in towns and cities across the country and trusts could do a lot more to make the NHS attractive to younger workers.

His comments came during a session at the Confederation conference in Liverpool on Brexit and workforce issues. Last week data showed there had been a 96 per cent fall in the number of European non-UK nurses registering with the NMC to work in the UK since last year’s referendum.

NHS Employers has published new guidance for employers giving key advice and links to projects to help them attract staff.

Mr Mortimer said: “What we see very clearly from the NHS perspective, there is much more that we need to do in terms of our attractiveness as employers in the longer term. Yes, there are a whole set of things we would look to the government and the system to do but there are also things we as employers need to do for the longer term supply of people who want to come and work in our organisations.

“These issues are an important, if not more important, response to the challenges of Brexit.

“I appreciate that doesn’t help with the pressures and gaps people have this week but I do believe that the challenge we have now, is the challenge of the next decade in terms of making sure that we maximise our attractiveness as an employer and we bring in as many people as possible to work for us.”

Mr Mortimer said a key issue was the need to provide certainty for EU nationals working in the UK.

He said some EU staff had tried to seek leave to remain in the UK but had been rejected.

“My advice, having spoken to EU colleagues who have been through that process is wait, wait until a deal is done. The process we have for leave to remain is not designed for EU nationals it is designed for people who come to work here from outside the EU. The process of rejection only compounds the anxiety.”