The NHS could not cope without our EU nationals

From Dr Andrew Dearden, British Medical Association

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Sir, Further to “A post-Brexit immigration system that works for all” (July 27): the commissioned report into the impact of EU migrants on the UK economy and what future immigration should look like is long overdue, but with the findings due to be reported back only months before the UK leaves the EU, why has it taken so long for the government to commission this study?

EU nationals play an invaluable role in health and social care in the UK, and have been vital in addressing the staff shortages across the National Health Service. Put simply, our already over-stretched health service would not be able to cope without them and patient care would suffer.

Seven in 10 hospital doctors are already reporting rota gaps in their departments, while almost half of GPs have reported GP vacancies where they work. We know that non-UK workers have already begun to leave the NHS following the referendum, making effective transitional arrangements post-Brexit absolutely vital.

To protect the future of the NHS, the government must work with health organisations to ensure that the immigration system remains flexible enough to recruit doctors and other NHS staff from overseas, especially where the resident workforce is unable to produce enough suitable applicants to fill vacant roles.

Dr Andrew Dearden

British Medical Association

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