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Departures could exacerbate vacancy rates in already understaffed service.

Increasing numbers of European Union-trained ambulance staff are quitting the NHS, raising fears of a Brexit drain from the 999 service just as concern over slow response times grows.

There are fears the departures could exacerbate high vacancy rates in ambulance services in England, which are already one of the most understaffed areas of NHS care.

Freedom of information requests submitted by the Liberal Democrats have revealed what the Lib Dems say is an “alarming” trend of resignations among ambulance staff trained in the other 27 EU countries.

The responses from England’s 10 ambulance service trusts show that 101 paramedics, call handlers and other staff from the rest of the EU left in 2016-17 – one in seven of the 688 EU27 personnel who were working for the trusts during that time.

Last year was the second in a row in which the number of leavers rose: 81 did so in 2015-16 and 78 quit in 2014-15.

“It is deeply concerning to see a rise in ambulance staff from the EU leaving the country.

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This is especially alarming when we are facing such a severe shortage of paramedics,” said y Judith Jolly, who speaks for the Lib Dems on health.

“These EU citizens save lives in our communities every day, yet ministers have treated them like dirt and failed to give them certainty over their futures here,” Jolly added.

 

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