Director, Kyle Taylor, warns of second-rate health care in Burton Hospital

Director of Smart Brexit, Kyle Taylor, in the Burton Mail warning of the risks of increasing demand and Brexit on local hospitals

People in Burton are at risk of receiving 'second-rate healthcare' within 10 years due to an ageing population and the effects of Brexit, it has been claimed.

That is the view of the newly-formed Smart Brexit group which has responded to a study that reveals Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust can expect to see a 50 per cent increase in the number of 85+ year olds living in the region by 2026.

The report by the Institute for Employment Studies claims that many NHS Trusts are at risk of nursing shortages from a mixture of the impact of Brexit and ageing populations. Burton Hospitals NHS Trust was one of those identified as most at risk.

Brexit it claims will hinder the number or European Economic Area (EEA) nurses the trust can employ – currently six per cent of its workforce.

Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chief nurse Paula Gardner admitted it faces a 'significant challenge' in recruiting more nursing staff and that services will need to continue to adapt to deal with an ageing population.

The report reads: "Our findings reveal that the NHS trusts most 'at risk' from these demographic changes are spread across English regions. Some, such as Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Trust face very rapid population growth among the over-85s and have above average employment of European Economic Area (EEA) nurses."

It estimates that by 2026 Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust will have 51.6 per cent more 85-year-olds in its catchment than it does now.

It also employs an 'above average' 6.1 per cent of EEA nurses.

Paula Gardner, chief nurse at Burton Hospitals Trust, said: "The Trust is constantly striving to ensure that the services we provide at Burton Hospitals reflect the needs and requirements of our patients.

"With an ageing population, it's clear that those services will continue to be adapted to ensure that patients in Burton, Lichfield, Tamworth and the surrounding areas receive the very best care possible.

"The safety of our patients is our main priority and the trust ensures that wards and clinics are staffed correctly according to the needs of those patients.

"The trust continues to attract good quality nurses to our hospitals. However we, along with the majority of hospitals across the country, face the significant challenge of recruiting more nursing staff and this continues to be one of the trust's key focuses for the near future."

This figures put Burton in the top 20 trusts most vulnerable to both post Brexit nurse shortages and rapid population growth among those aged 85 and over.

In response to the research, the director of Smart Brexit Kyle Taylor, which was formed to ensure Britain makes the best of Brexit, said: "Any government plan for Brexit needs to guarantee that your NHS is fully funded and able to cope with the changes in the years ahead so people in Burton aren't left with second-rate health care.

"The government has said the UK will be saving money in EU contributions once we leave and this should be transferred to the NHS so it can get the best from Brexit."