European staff in the health service will be supported to stay in Scotland regardless of the outcome of Brexit, Jeane Freeman has said.
In a letter to EU and EEA citizens working in the NHS, the Health Secretary said that although she had hoped for greater clarity over the Brexit process, her top priority will continue to be ensuring the rights of people living in Scotland.
She also reiterated the application process for EU citizens aiming to remain in the UK after Brexit, and outlined the advice published by the Scottish Government under its Stay in Scotland campaign launched last week.
The UK is preparing to leave the EU. This will affect EU citizens who have chosen to live here. To help you stay, we have produced a package of support to guide you through the steps you need to take.
— ScotGovEurope (@ScotGovEurope) April 5, 2019
In her letter, Ms Freeman told EU citizens: “Your contributions are very much valued. We want you to continue to live and work in Scotland.
“We are very grateful for the work you do and the contribution you make, not just to patient care but also to the health, care and wellbeing of Scotland as a whole.”
Ms Freeman also sent a joint letter in partnership with the interim health and social care spokesman at the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities, Stuart Currie, to those working in social care.
In that letter, Ms Freeman and Mr Currie expressed their thanks to staff and confirmed any professional qualifications and registrations held by EU citizens would continue to be valid even if the UK leaves the European Union without a deal.
The letter said: “We recognise that some staff might be worried about what might happen to their professional registration if we leave the EU without an agreement.
“We can confirm that you will not need to do anything and will remain on the register for as long as you continue to meet all the normal requirements of continued registration.
“Thank-you again for all that you do. We hope that this letter provides some comfort and reassurance in these uncertain times.”