UK Immigration: NHS Would be ‘Short Staffed’ Without Migrants

Last week, statistics released from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) revealed that more than 1 in 10 workers are from overseas, including 25% of doctors and 11% of nurses. Figures obtained by The Guardian show that the NHS employs staff from more than 200 different countries, including Azerbaijan, Zambia, Indonesia, Poland, and American Samoa, according to official figures. This has led to experts forming the opinion that the NHS would be ‘short-staffed’ without migrants.

HSCIC Statistics Show Extent of NHS Reliance on Foreign Nationals

Statistics from HSCIC show that professionally qualified clinical staff are more likely to be foreign nationals (14%) and the figure rises even more for doctors (26%). It seems that those who have ties to the UK through the Commonwealth provide the most employees, as well as EU and English speaking countries. These figures have led the British Medical Association (BMA) to observe that without the contribution of non-British staff, “many NHS services would struggle to provide effective care to their patients”.

A spokeswoman for the British Medical Association stated:

“Overseas doctors have for many years made a valuable and important contribution to the NHS, especially in key services where there has been a historic shortage of UK-trained doctors. For many years the NHS actively encouraged overseas doctors to move to the UK, many of whom committed to a life here and have since become British citizens.”

NHS Employ Foreign Nationals from more than 200 Countries

HSCIC figures show from the study show that a total of 204 different nations, excluding the UK, supply the NHS with 136,624 workers. The biggest supplier of employees is India with 18,424, followed by the Philippines with 12,744, then Ireland with 12,613 and Poland with 5,507.

 Analysing the figures, Tim Finch, from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think tank stated:

“People are still attracted to work in the NHS. Without them we’d clearly be short – it would be very hard to replace that number overnight.

“If the single thread of immigration policy is just to get the overall figure down by any means, you’ve got to look at the consequences of that on the NHS.”

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