The Liberal Democrats have claimed that Brexit will cost the NHS £265m in re-hiring charges
The party's Brexit spokesman Nick Clegg said research showed that up to 26,500 NHS workers could leave the UK due to the EU withdrawal.
The number of EU nationals registering as nurses in the UK has fallen by 90% since the Brexit vote, Mr Clegg said as he claimed the NHS would have to pay £1 million a week over the next five years as a result of a Tory immigration skills charge on employers.
The former deputy prime minister said: “The Leave campaign promised that exiting the EU would free up £350 million a week for the NHS. It's long been clear this was a lie, and now we know that Theresa May's choice of an extreme Brexit will in fact place yet more financial demands on a health service already under considerable strain.
“The NHS is heavily dependent on doctors, nurses and other support staff from the EU, many of whom are now planning to leave the country because their rights have not been guaranteed.
Nick Clegg claimed 26,500 NHS workers could leave the health service
The NHS is heavily dependent on doctors, nurses and other support staff from the EU
Brexit spokesman Nick Clegg
“These are skilled and hard-working people, who all work tirelessly to look after all of us. Our NHS, and the care we all rely on, will suffer without them.
“It will cost the NHS around £265 million to bring in EU staff to fill these jobs over the next five years, a wholly unnecessary burden at a time when the NHS is being asked to make dramatic efficiency savings.
Corbyn confronts May over the NHS crisis Wed, February 22, 2017
Jeremy Corbyn kicked off the clash with questions over the NHS during Prime Minister's Questions.
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The number of EU nationals registering as nurses has fallen by 90% since the Brexit vote
“This is just the tip of the iceberg. We already know the Government is borrowing an additional £15 billion a year as a direct result of the EU referendum – money which could otherwise be spent directly on the NHS.
“The NHS is far too precious to be damaged by Theresa May's decision to pursue a Ukip-style Brexit.
“The Liberal Democrats will stand up to Theresa May's extreme Brexit and give the people the final say, with the choice to remain in the European Union if they don't like the deal on offer.”