Hopson voices concern about the ability to retain and attract European staff post-Brexit. European Economic Area workers account for 9.1% of doctors, 5.5% of nurses and midwives and 15% of dentists, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.
The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, said: “There already is an impact on services in that many central European people who have come to Britain to work in the NHS such as nurses are not here, they’ve gone home, and there is a recruitment crisis in the NHS all across the UK.
“That is the consequence of the uncertainty surrounding it, which is why there has to be serious negotiations with Europe to reach agreement on this.
“On the medicine issue … there has to be an agreement to ensure there is a permanent supply of medicines, and also an ability for Britain to supply medicines to other people when they desperately need them.”
Hopson wrote that there needed to be a meeting of trust leaders “as a matter of urgency to work through the operational issues they would face should there be no Brexit deal or a hard Brexit”.
NHS Providers confirmed the letter was genuine but said it would not be making any further comment.
The shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, said: “For weeks hospital leaders have told me in astonishment that there has been no guidance from ministers explaining the implications of no deal. The fact is that this government’s chaotic handling of Brexit is putting NHS patients and staff at risk.”
The British Medical Association, the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives have all supported calls for the public to have a final say on Brexit, amid fears about how a hard or no-deal exit could affect the NHS.
Niall Dickson, a co-chair of the Brexit Health Alliance, said: “The NHS, the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries and the entire medical research community remain deeply concerned about the risks to patients, should there be no deal. It ought to be possible to manage those risks but we do need effective planning and comprehensive guidance, and we need this now.”
Last month, Simon Stevens, the chief executive of NHS England, said significant planning was going into preparing the health service for the prospect of a no-deal Brexit, including securing continuation of medical supplies.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: “We are confident of reaching a deal with the EU that benefits patients and the NHS, but we are preparing for all situations, including in the unlikely event of no-deal, so there is no disruption to patients.”
An NHS England spokeswoman said ensuring the health service was ready for Brexit was a priority. “Government leads on contingency planning for different scenarios and we are working with them on this and ensuring NHS voices are heard,” she said.