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Doctor: When you are PM will you write a letter to reassure our EU staff, like the one Jeanne Freeman wrote last year?

Researcher: Brian McGowan

‘I know this must be a very unsettling time for all of you. That is why I wanted to reiterate now how much I value the contribution of every member of staff, regardless of their nationality. Scotland is absolutely your home and we very much want you to stay here.

Jeanne Freeman Scottish Health Secretary in September 2018

What are the facts? Not that many, but needless to say, Glen Campbell was keen to scare us in 2018 with:

A major health board has warned there is a “very high” risk that Brexit could cause disruption to its services. NHS Lanarkshire said it was working with the Scottish government to identify potential problems. A wider [England] BBC investigation has uncovered NHS concerns that leaving the EU could worsen staff shortages and limit access to specialist medicines and doctors. While NHS Scotland is under the control of the Scottish parliament, the Brexit negotiations are the responsibility of the UK government at Westminster.


It is estimated that about 17,000 EU nationals work in health and social care in Scotland. That accounts for less than 5% of the workforce. As NHS Scotland does not routinely record the nationality of staff members, it does not have precise information.


So we don’t really know how many plan to leave.

The figure in England for 2018 was 8%, nearly twice as high


Perhaps Jeanne Freeman’s letter to EU NHS staff just over a year ago has helped to prevent a real crisis?


Footnote:  Campbell is a Scottish surname—derived from the Scottish Gaelic roots cam (“crooked”) and beul (“mouth”)—that originated as a nickname meaning “crooked mouth” or “wry mouthed.”

The McGowan surname derives from the Irish Gaelic name Mac an Ghabhain, which means “son of the blacksmith.” 

So, one twisting the truth and the other helping to forge it?