Brexit Support from Dorset Chamber
There are an estimated 18,000 people working in the care sector in Dorset, according to latest industry figures, including those who have come from the EU.
The advice on this page may be of use if you own, run or work in a business in the care sector. This includes residential and nursing homes as well as care for people who live in their own homes (domiciliary care). Domiciliary care is sometimes known as homecare or home help.
It does not apply to NHS or council care services, although there may be some overlap in advice issued elsewhere, particularly on medicines and employees.
You need to know
The Government has asked individual care providers not to stockpile medicine to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.
Instead, it has recommended that suppliers of medicines, such as pharmaceutical companies, build up at least six weeks’ worth of extra stock to ensure there is enough to go round. The Government says it has extra space on ferries to bring medicines in from the EU and has set up a special freight service to deliver supplies when urgently needed. Speak to your suppliers to ensure that there will be no disruption or changes to your usual practices. This also applies to medical devices and equipment, according to the Government. This could include syringes or needles, personal protective equipment and continence products. Ensure that you know where your supplies are coming from and that there will be no disruption. It is worth planning ahead with your supplier to ensure enough supplies will be available.
If you employ people from the EU – for example as nurses, auxiliaries or managers – they will be able to stay until December 31, 2020 even in a no-deal Brexit.
They and their families will still be able to work, rent places to live and use services in the UK. However, under a no-deal, they must apply to the Government’s EU Settlement Scheme to ensure they can stay after December 2020. If there is a deal, this date may change. It is free to apply for this status and applications are open now. People from the Republic of Ireland, which is part of the EU, will be able to work as usual in the UK.
If you want to employ people from the EU after Brexit, they will be able to apply to stay for 36 months – three years – on a temporary basis.
They will be able to stay under the European Temporary Leave to Remain (Euro TLR) scheme. Then they will have to apply to stay permanently under Government immigration rules yet to be finalised although due to be introduced in January 2021. It likely this will be based on a points-based immigration system, including the need to have lived in the UK for five years although this will be confirmed at a later date. Other criteria may include skills and salary levels. This may affect the recruitment of certain staff within your organisation. Lower skilled or lower paid workers may be able to apply for a working visa after Brexit but this is yet to be confirmed. Industry organisations have also been lobbying Government for an exemption for care sector staff.
The Government has introduced rules to ensure that those people with professional qualifications in health and care from EU countries are still recognised in the UK.
This means that they can carry on working and practising as before. You won’t need to change existing staff employment contracts for any employees who are from the EU. You may find it useful to review staff and skills requirements as part of your wider preparations.
In Dorset, the organisation responsible for the county’s healthcare – the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group – has drawn up a no-deal plan.
This includes staff to deal with administration and record information. Although this applies to the NHS rather than private care providers, there may be some knock-on effects for people moving into the care system from the NHS.
Keep staff informed as well as customers, patients and residents (and their families) to give reassurance that you are ready for Brexit.
Ensure you are aware of other plans locally, including the councils and NHS.
NOW: Draw up your Brexit business continuity plan if you don’t have one, including checks with suppliers about medicine and equipment
NEXT: Ask employees about the EU about their settlement status, and offer help if required
NOTE: Keep watch for no-deal Brexit updates from the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC)