Fears over Brexit impact on the care sector

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Care organisations want a investigation on how Brexit will impact the sector

19th April 2018 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

Charities are demanding an urgent probe into how Brexit will impact on social care in Scotland.

Groups are worried what the result of leaving the European Union (EU) will be in terms of recruitment and funding - and ultimately the ability to deliver crucial services.

A coalition of 65 organisations from across the care sector has called for an independent review into how leaving the EU will impact on social care.

The issue is set to be discussed by the House of Lords over the coming weeks as part of its consideration of the EU withdrawal bill.

Liberal Democrat peers Lord Stephen and Baroness Jolly have tabled an amendment to the Brexit legislation which proposes a review analysing the impact of leaving the EU on the sector.

Organisations across the UK fear that potential changes in legislation - specifically related to EU workers, medical research and funding - could affect the provision of support and services to disabled people, those with long term conditions and unpaid carers.

Groups that have backed calls for an independent review include the Coalition of Care Providers Scotland, Inclusion Scotland and the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland. 

“Our members have raised significant concerns about the impact Brexit will have on their operations after the 2019 leaving date,” said the Alliance’s Ian Welsh. “By supporting an independent review of its impact we hope to highlight the impact of leaving the EU for organisations supporting people with long term conditions and ways of addressing these concerns.”

Camphill Scotland is one of the organisations which has been fighting for the review, and has warned that loss of EU workers and volunteers would have a devastating impact on its work.

Director Dr Neil Henery said: “170 of the 251 short-term volunteer co-workers currently living and working in Camphill communities in Scotland are from other EU countries.

“Without them Camphill could not continue in its present form to the great detriment of the over 500 people with learning disabilities and other support needs who depend on us for their care, education and support.”

John Downie, director of public affairs for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, said representatives of the third sector have been vocal about the impact of Brexit.

He said: "The EU referendum only offered voters a binary choice about EU membership and issues like medical research, the rights of disabled people, early access to medicines and the caring role provided by EU nationals were more or less ignored.

"The potential for an independent review is a positive step in ensuring these crucial matters are subject to proper debate and scrutiny and that every necessary action is taken to ensure we are able to provide care, support and dignity for all."