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Britain's 'Nurse Of The Year' Blames Brexit For Mental Breakdown by Idowu Olabode : October 03, 2019, 07:08:58 PM
A Spanish healthcare worker who was named Britain’s nurse of the year has said he had a mental breakdown because of Brexit.

Joan Pons Laplana said the uncertainty surrounding the UK’s withdrawal from the EU resulted in his mental health deteriorating as he feared a no-deal Brexit could put his job at risk due to his European national status.

Laplana moved to the UK in 2000, where he worked hard to build a career, married his long-term partner and raised three children. Last year, he was awarded the title of nurse of the year by the British Journal of Nursing.

But Laplana, who lives in Chesterfield and stood as an Independent Group for Change MEP candidate for the east Midlands, said his mental health began to deteriorate three months ago.

He said Brexit was “largely responsible”, claiming it is having a detrimental impact on the NHS, making it difficult for nurses and doctors to do their jobs properly.

With the possibility of Britain leaving the EU without a deal on 31 October, reports suggest European nationals are quitting their NHS jobs because of the uncertainty.

Record numbers of nurses and midwives from EU27 countries left Britain following the UK’s vote to leave the EU, deepening the NHS’s chronic staffing crisis.

Laplana said: “I think Brexit is the biggest con. What frightens me is that with no deal still on the table, they are playing Russian roulette with people’s lives, which has a serious impact on patients and on people like me.

“Because there are colleagues leaving the NHS, it’s getting difficult to provide safe care. Nurses and doctors will be making more mistakes and that costs lives.

“I had a mental breakdown three months ago because winter is coming around again and we are in a worse position than last year.”

Laplana said many colleagues, rather than apply for settled status, “have all left for Ireland or other countries”, but for him, his wife, Karen, and their three children, Luke, 17, Emma, 14, and eight-year-old Nuria – who all have British passports – it would not be a simple transition.

“The people who are left here can’t just pack their bags and leave. I’ve got a wife and kids. This is the country where my children will grow up,” he said.

“Every day I have anxiety in my head. I’m tired. I just want to live and forget about Brexit and start again.”

While Laplana is legally allowed to remain, he said he is worried that in the future his situation might not be secure and he will be forced to leave.

“I don’t have any papers to confirm I have settled status. It’s all on a system at the Home Office. I am actually scared that my future is in their hands,” he said.

A government spokesperson said: “EU workers play a vital role across the health and social care system and we continue to encourage those living and working in the UK to apply for status under the EU settlement scheme.

“The scheme provides EU citizens with an immigration status under UK law and over 1.7 million people have already applied.

“EU citizens granted status under the scheme are given a secure digital status which, unlike a physical document, cannot be lost, stolen or tampered with.”

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