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Home care leaders have come out in force to share their thoughts on the impact of Britain’s decision to exit the European Union with a UK leave majority of 52 per cent on 24 June.
Oliver Stirk, director of homecare provider Carefound said: “At Carefound Home Care we are fairly removed from the impact of Brexit because we recruit locally, however some parts of the home care sector will be impacted should Brexit result in less availability of staff in the UK.
Housing and Pensions
"Funding could also be impacted, particularly for residential care, given that increasing numbers of older people are being forced to fund care themselves and risk their housing and pension wealth being impacted should a resultant economic downturn materialise.”
The win for Brexit sparked the loss of a Prime Minister and a loss in the value of the British pound nose-diving at one point to $1.32, a level not seen since 1985. Prime Minister David Cameron, his voice cracking, told the nation a new leader ‘should aim to have a new Prime Minister in place’ by the start of the Conservative conference in October.
The managing director of home care group Penrose Care Robert Stephenson-Padron said: "The EU referendum's outcome is disappointing and opens up a lot of uncertainty. We have already seen the negative impacts the results have had on UK cohesion and global financial markets which are greatly concerning.”
Care sector workforce
EU migrants make up an estimated six per cent of jobs in the social care sector in England. Concerns have been raised that a greater staffing shortage could occur because the supply of workers willing to take on care jobs, many low paid, would be less.
Mike Padgham, chair of the United Kingdom Homecare Association said: “The ability of the social care sector to recruit and retain an effective workforce is of particular concern. The contribution of every care worker matters and the ability for employers to recruit non-British EU citizens, as part of the social care workforce, will be particularly important for many homecare providers.”
Having covered Leave campaign buses with the words "We send the EU £350 million a week - let's fund our NHS instead", Boris Johnson and other Brexiteers have now backtracked on their campaign pledge stating they never had a plan to implement this.
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) estimates that a vote to leave the UK means NHS spending would be £135 lower per head, than if the UK were to remain in the UK. The EIU said close to 19,000 nurses in the NHS who come from EU countries may have an uncertain future as a result of the leave result.
Stephen Dalton, chief executive, NHS Confederation, which has nearly 500 members across health and social care, said: "The NHS has broadly benefited from being in the EU and leaving it will undoubtedly have implications which are yet to be clearly understood.
“It is impossible to predict the full impact at this stage, but clearly it is vital that our Government seeks a strong, nuanced agreement with the European Union that recognises how interwoven NHS and EU policies have become.
“The NHS Confederation, through our European Office will be working in Brussels and the UK to ensure the needs of the NHS and its patients are understood throughout this process.”
The chief nursing officer for England, Professor Jane Cummings lent her voice to the discussion in an effort to settle any unrest among EU colleagues following the Brexit vote.
Professor Jane Cummings said "The outcome of the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union has, understandably, raised a number of questions about what this will mean for people from the EU currently employed in Britain.
"I wanted to take this opportunity to confirm to all EU nurses, midwives and care assistants working in England’s health and care system that you are valued and hugely appreciated. You are an integral and vital part of the health and care family, and your skills and compassionate care directly benefit patients, families and communities.
"Your vital contribution to our work together will continue; you are appreciated by me and, most of all, by those we care for."
The Grey vote
There was a 72 per cent turnout for the EU referendum, which included postal votes as well as visits to polling stations. Older people were just as crucial to the referendum result with the ‘grey vote’ having decided the UK’s last General Election. The majority of voters in Wales voted with England to leave the EU, while Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain.
A survey by Lord Ashcroft of 12,369 referendum voters after they had cast their ballot showed 60 per cent of those aged 65 and over voted to leave the EU.
People with disabilities
On the subject of what the result means for those with disabilities, Fiona McGhie, a public law expert at law firm Irwin Mitchell said: “Membership of the EU offers a large degree of protection for people with disabilities because of its directives on equality. However, if that protection was removed by a vote to leave the EU, people with disabilities would still benefit from the CRPD [UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities] and the ECHR [European Convention on Human Rights].
“It is unlikely that Equality Act would be repealed should the UK leave the EU, as we would still need to comply with the other international conventions which we have ratified. However, people with disabilities would not benefit from any further directives or regulations that the EU issued on disability rights and would be reliant on domestic legislation and common law."
Ongoing care sector EU Referendum poll
Homecare.co.uk can also reveal the result of its ongoing EU Referendum online poll.
Readers were asked 'Will the health and social care sector be better off under Brexit?'
On 24 June, 11 per cent voted 'Yes' and 89 per cent voted 'No'.
If you have not voted in the Care sector EU referendum poll, cast your vote
29 Jun 2016 2:12 PM
Following the historic events of Thursday and the sad and surprising result of the EU referendum, we felt it was important to communicate with our brilliant and diverse workforce.
Fairway have over the past 5 years established and continued to grow a healthy, positive and inclusive business. Focussing on the dignity, respect and rights of others and promoting equality and diversity to all, Fairway are rightly proud of our very diverse workforce from the UK, the EU, wider Europe and further afield.
Our growth could not be achieved without the dedicated hard work and effort from every member of our team and we rightly celebrate that. We are genuinely sad at the result and want to make it clear that we want every worker to remain a huge part of our business and that we respect and value all of our team wherever they may be from. We celebrate and value the diversity and rich culture that our workforce offer.
Fairway are proud of our diversity and the immeasurable contribution of all of our staff regardless of gender, creed, religion, nationality or any other label.