Leaving the EU: NHS

A backbench debate took place in Westminster Hall yesterday discussing the effect of leaving the EU on the NHS. It was called by Labour MP, Ben Bradshaw.

Local MP, Andrew Selous was asked by a constituency member to attend. Mr Selous said he was unable to attend but issued this response,

"Thank you for contacting me about the effects of leaving the EU on the NHS. Sadly I cannot attend this Thursday’s debate due to some of my Trade Envoy commitments already in the diary. However, I thought you would like to know that in the year following the EU referendum, the number of EU nationals working in the NHS actually increased by 5.6 percent. I note that, unfortunately, there was a small fall in the number of nurses and health visitors from the EU during this time, however there are a variety of factors which could account for this, notably the introduction of a new English language test for NHS staff from the EU, and falling unemployment in countries such as Spain and Poland, which had previously contributed many nurses to the NHS."

"The Government has been embarking on one of the largest recruitment drives in the NHS. Today, there are over 14,000 more nurses and over 11,000 more doctors in NHS wards than in 2010, as well as a further 50,000 nurses in training. Furthermore, the Government recently announced an extra 1,500 training places for doctors, and over 5,000 more trainee nurses, a 25 percent increase. I believe that these efforts will significantly support NHS staffing, and safeguard the NHS for the future."

The debate in Westminster was summed up by Ben Bradshaw, "Essentially, nothing is going to change. What worries me is that we are simply delaying. We are putting off the evil day when the difficult choices, hard decisions and potential damage have to be faced. It is a delay rather than a solution. In the next few months, we will have to have much clearer answers from the Government about the final end state and solution. Otherwise, the concern and uncertainty will go on."

The debate in full.