Whittington chief executive: ‘Brexit could impact London hospital recruitment’

Chief executive Simon Pleydell. Picture: Polly Hancock

Chief executive Simon Pleydell. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

The Whittington Health chief executive raised concerns about the recruitment of European doctors and nurses and a sense of the unknown following Brexit.

Simon Pleydell was speaking after Whittington Health, the trust which provides hospital and community care in Islington and Haringey, received a “good” rating from the care watchdog.

The Whittington Hospital itself was rated “requires improvement” by the Care Quality Commission.

Inspectors found the trust had vacancies across the hospital but that staffing levels were maintained through the use of agency staff.

Mr Pleydell said London hospitals rely on European nurses and doctors.

He said: “There is an issue around not knowing.

“Hospitals, particularly in London, are run by an international group of staff.

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“We’ve still got over 40 nurses coming from European countries who have just been recruited.

“Clearly we’re all concerned, we’re immensely supportive of our EU colleagues, and we’re bound to be concerned about what’s going to happen over the next two years, as the full implications of moving out of the European Union are defined, really.

“I would hope we can still recruit freely from the European Union, because I think that’s important for the stability of our clinical services, because where else is our staff going to come from?

“Classically in London there are still shortages and we’re trying to reduce the numbers of agency staff, we’re trying to get more permanently employed staff, and an awful lot of trusts are trying to recruit internationally.”

CQC inspectors heard junior doctors at the Whittington had concerns consultants were not always immediately available in the emergency department, especially overnight.

But Mr Pleydell said the Board had decided to increase the number of consultants.

He said: “We’re going to be expanding the number of consultants - we’re going to be covering the day more effectively - [ for] the size of department that we have, we don’t really have enough consultants, so we’ll look at how we can extend our coverage over the 24 hour period.”

Commenting generally on the CQC report Mr Pleydell said: “It is vital that we continue to build upon our success and continue to be rated as one of the best NHS Trusts in London.

“The inspection team have also highlighted some areas we know need to improve – particularly around our bed capacity and improving the flow of patients through our hospital and we have already started to address these specific concerns.”

- For a full report on the CQC inspection, see Thursday’s paper