MORE than 300 EU staff have left the John Radcliffe Hospital’s trust this year, according to new figures.

The departures were the second highest across 50 NHS trusts in England which responded to a Freedom of Information request from the Lib Dems, who have blamed Brexit for the exodus.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) with 304 leavers was behind just London North West, which had 362 EU staff departures so far in 2019.

A statement from the trust said it was 'working closely' with partner organisations in health and social care both locally and nationally to prepare for Brexit.

It added: “We have tried and tested business continuity procedures to minimise the risk of any disruption to patient care in a range of scenarios – and we are following these established practices to prepare for Brexit.”

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The trust said an 'important part' of preparations for Brexit was to support European staff – of which there are more than 1,500 at OUH, including Chief Executive Dr Bruno Holthof.

It continued: “Bruno has written personally to all our European staff to reiterate our commitment to them that, regardless of Brexit, we want them to stay with us at OUH.

"He has been encouraging them to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, if they have not done so already so, to secure their continued right to remain in the UK.”

The trust said it had also run a series of information sessions for EU staff in applying to the EU Settlement Scheme.

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It concluded the trust had recruited 318 EU nationals so far in 2019, in addition to recruitment in countries like India and the Philippines.

NHS funding has become a key topic in the general election with Labour vowing to outspend an additional £20bn already pledged by the Conservatives on the health service.

The Lib Dems, meanwhile, have pledged to put 1p on income tax, with the revenue ringfenced for the NHS and social care.