Our International Health Service

Report

posted on 5th June 2018

In Brief

The NHS relies on staff from all over the world. Over a quarter of NHS doctors – including almost half in some vital specialities – and almost one in six nurses, are from overseas. But following the Brexit referendum the NHS is finding it increasingly difficult to attract the clinical staff it needs from the EU. The number of EU nurses is already falling, and the proportion of European doctors gaining a licence in the UK has fallen from 25% of the total in 2014 to just 16% in 2017. This is making the NHS increasingly dependent on staff from outside the EU, who are being refused entry into the UK in their hundreds. Without relaxations in those restrictions and a commitment to erecting no new barriers to potential NHS staff from the EU after Brexit, the NHS will be unable to recruit the staff it needs.

The NHS is a national service, but it has always relied on staff from all over the world to enable it to provide the healthcare the people of this country need. In the NHS in England, which employs around 1.2 million people in total, one in eight of those staff who have a known nationality – 12.5% – are from overseas. But NHS staff in clinical roles are much more likely to come from abroad. Over a quarter of doctors (26%) and 16% of nurses and health visitors are from overseas, compared to just 5% of managers and 3% of senior managers.

And several specialties which deal with some of the most serious and life-threatening health problems are significantly reliant on foreign doctors. For example:

  • 45% of cardio-thoracic surgeons in the NHS are from outside the UK
  • 45% of paediatric cardiologists in the NHS are from outside the UK
  • 41% of neurosurgeons in the NHS are from outside the UK

But there are worrying signs that in the aftermath of the Brexit referendum the NHS is finding it increasingly difficult to attract the clinical staff it needs from the EU – which could add significant new pressures to the NHS in the future, at a time when Health Education England has estimated that the NHS could need as many as 190,000 additional clinical staff by 2027.

Analysis by Global Future of NHS and GMC data gives a worrying picture for the future of NHS recruitment.

  • The number of European nurses in the NHS has fallen since the EU referendum.
  • The proportion of EU/EEA doctors gaining a licence to practice in the UK has fallen from 25% of the total in 2014 to just 16% in 2017.
  • The rate of increase in the number of EU/EEA doctors in the NHS has decreased every year for the last five years.
  • The rate of increase in the number of EU/EEA doctors registered by the GMC in England has decreased every year for the last five years.

We need to celebrate the international nature of our health service, and ensure that it is sustainable in the future by enabling it to continue to recruit the staff it and the people who rely on it need, from all over the world. In particular, this means:

  • Scrapping the Tier 2 visa cap and the minimum income threshold for immigration from outside the EU, which are preventing the NHS from recruiting the staff it needs.
  • Abandoning the target of reducing net migration to the tens of thousands, which drives immigration restrictions which damage the NHS and make it more difficult for it to provide the care UK citizens and taxpayers have the right to expect.
  • Ensuring that any post-Brexit immigration system does not make it more difficult for the NHS to recruit from the EU.

 

PART ONE: THE NHS AND OVERSEAS STAFF

The NHS is the world’s fifth largest employer, after the US Department of Defense (which includes the US armed forces, as well as civilian staff), the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, Walmart and McDonald’s. Across all the nations of the UK, it employs around 1.7 million people. That a UK institution is so high on this global list tells us something about its importance to our national life. While the US and Chinese militaries are also public sector employers, they belong to countries which are significantly larger than the UK; Walmart and McDonalds are businesses which operate all over the world and whose workforce numbers reflect this.

Within the UK, health is devolved, so although the National Health Services in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are similar in many ways and operate on the same universalist principles, they are run separately, and are accountable to separate governments. The NHS in England is by far the largest of the four, and employs around 1.2 million people.

When Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in 2013 that the NHS is “a national health service, not an international health service”, he was wrong about the people who work in it. Of the 1.2 million staff in the English NHS, just under 140,000 report a non-UK nationality. This is 12.5% of all staff whose nationality is known – one in eight (the nationality of just over 78,000 NHS staff, 6.5% of the total, is not known to the NHS – we have removed these from our calculations). This is already a very significant proportion of the NHS workforce, but we can break the figures down further to get a better picture of which NHS roles are most and least reliant on overseas workers.

See table 1. overleaf

As of September 2017 (the most recent available figures) more than a quarter of doctors in the NHS in England – 26% – are from outside the UK, along with 16% of nurses and health visitors (nurses and health visitors are the largest clinical staff group in the NHS, making up over a quarter of all NHS staff). The NHS is most dependent on overseas staff to fill these clinical roles, while managers and senior managers are among the least likely roles to be held by overseas staff, who fill just 5% and 3% of these posts, respectively.

In addition, overseas staff make a huge contribution to adult social care provision, which is not part of the NHS. Around 220,000 of those working in adult social care are from overseas – 16% of the total workforce.1

Table 1: Overseas staff as a proportion of NHS staff, by staff group2

STAFF GROUPTotal staff with known nationalityTotal EU/EEA staffTotal rest of world staffNon-UK staff %
Hospital and Community Health
Services (HCHS) doctors
109,99410,72718,02126%
Nurses and health visitors298,28421,34326,21916%
Hotel, property and estates60,3274,2423,89613%
Other staff or those with
unknown classification
4,50422131612%
Support to doctors, nurses
and midwives
265,57010,58016,41710%
Scientific, therapeutic and
technical staf
145,4607,7805,5299%
Midwives24,0461,3964958%
Support to scientific, therapeutic
and technical staf
61,3872,5892,1488%
Ambulance staf18,1054236296%
Central functions84,0582,2142,3065%
Managers21,0605184595%
Senior managers10,1162221233%
Support to ambulance staf14,4322551413%
All Staff1,114,83862,40676,61312%

 

PART TWO: CLINICAL SPECIALTIES WITH PARTICULAR RELIANCE ON OVERSEAS DOCTORS

We have analysed NHS staffing data further to find out which clinical specialties are most reliant on overseas doctors. In several very important specialty areas, dealing with some of the most serious and life-threatening health conditions, the proportion of doctors who come from outside the UK is substantially higher than the overall 26% figure.

The top ten specialties which are most reliant on overseas doctors, counting only those specialties with 100 doctors or more across the NHS in England, are:

  1. Cardio-thoracic surgery (operating on the heart, lungs and oesophagus) – 45% of NHS doctors with this specialty are from outside the UK
  2. Paediatric cardiology (care of patients with congenital heart disease) – 45% of NHS doctors with this specialty are from outside the UK
  3. Neurosurgery (diagnostics, assessment and surgery to treat disorders of the nervous system, including surgery on the brain and spinal cord) – 41% of NHS doctors with this specialty are from outside the UK
  4. Clinical neurophysiology (investigation, diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the nervous system such as epilepsy, motor neurone disease and Parkinson’s disease) – 38% of NHS doctors with this specialty are from outside the UK
  5. Ophthalmology (care of patients with eye conditions) – 36% of NHS doctors with this specialty are from outside the UK
  6. Paediatric surgery (surgery on young people, from premature and unborn babies to children and young adults up to age 19) – 32% of NHS doctors with this specialty are from outside the UK
  7. Histopathology (diagnosis of disease through studying cells and tissue samples, including cancer tests and screening) – 31% of NHS doctors with this specialty are from outside the UK
  8. Endocrinology and diabetes mellitus (investigation, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the endocrine system, including diabetes and thyroid disease) – 31% of NHS doctors with this specialty are from outside the UK
  9. Acute Internal Medicine (assessing, diagnosing and treating patients with a wide range of fast-developing, severe and potentially life-threatening conditions) – 31% of NHS doctors with this specialty are from outside the UK
  10. Neurology (diagnosing, treating and managing disorders affecting the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system) – 31% of NHS doctors with this specialty are from outside the UK

Across these ten vital specialties, more than a third of NHS doctors are from overseas – and without them, the NHS would simply not be able to provide the level of expert care to patients that it does.

Table 2: Clinical specialties in the NHS in which non-UK doctors make up a greater than average percentage of total staff (counting only specialties with 100 doctors or more)3

SpecialtyTotal staff with known nationalityTotal EU/EEA staffTotal rest of world staffNon-UK staff %
Cardio-thoracic surgery85920418645%
Paediatric cardiology240664145%
Neurosurgery79315516841%
Clinical neurophysiology134302138%
Ophthalmology2,71140556236%
Paediatric surgery407656632%
Histopathology1,55920728231%
Endocrinology & diabetes mellitus1,55912036931%
Acute Internal Medicine1,44313331431%
Neurology1,39920622831%
Plastic surgery1,16117917631%
Intensive care medicine1,63222227030%
Rehabilitation medicine313306430%
Obstetrics and Gynaecology5,7455101,17929%
Renal medicine1,19910624229%
Immunology125162029%
General psychiatry5,8896471,04729%
General (internal) medicine4,65936896529%
Cardiology2,90433548828%
General surgery6,8117901,12328%
Trauma and orthopaedic surgery5,8765501,10028%
Otolaryngology1,75918829728%
Vascular Surgery301394227%
Emergency Medicine6,6305401,23627%
Paediatrics8,2457011,51427%
Urology1,85620429227%
Haematology1,58217524627%

 

PART THREE: RECRUITING AND RETAINING OVERSEAS STAFF

The NHS needs overseas staff – and in particular overseas doctors and nurses – and it needs to continue to recruit and retain them. The Health Foundation reported in 2016 that ‘the UK has one of the highest levels of reliance on internationally trained health professionals of any OECD country’.4

There is no prospect of this need changing in the short or medium term. While the Government recently announced the creation of up to 1,500 additional medical training places from September 2018,5 these will not produce any new doctors for six or seven years, and nor will they keep pace with the NHS’s need
for an increased number of doctors overall. As NHS Providers says, ‘Until such a time as the NHS has significantly increased the numbers of clinical staff trained domestically and successfully recruited and retained them within the NHS, then any significant reduction in the number of staff from overseas is likely to have a serious adverse impact on service availability and quality. The pipeline of international staff must remain open’.6

Meanwhile, again according to NHS Providers, there are ‘shortfalls of accident and emergency consultants across all regions of the country and, outside of London, shortfalls in psychiatry. Notable shortfalls are also found in acute care, pathology, cancer services, ophthalmology, and within the small specialties taken as a whole’.7 Across the NHS in England, official figures show that one in 11 posts were unfilled in February, equivalent to almost 100,000 vacancies.8

There is already evidence that the NHS is under extreme strain.

The proportion of A&E patients treated within a four-hour window is at a record low. The quarterly figures for March 2018, released by NHS England, reveal just 76.4% of patients were seen within 4 hours in major A &E departments, far below the 95% target, down almost 10% since the referendum, and the lowest proportion since records began in 2010.9

The target maximum waiting time for non-urgent consultant-led treatments is 18 weeks. However, latest figures reveal that the proportion of patients seen within 18 weeks has fallen steadily from around 93% in 2012 to 87% in March 2018.10 The NHS is also missing its Cancer targets – the 62-day referral target has now been breached for 27 months in a row.11

All of this is happening at a time when the NHS does not just need to maintain clinical staff numbers: it needs to keep expanding the clinical workforce. According to Health Education England (HEE), the NHS will need 190,000 new clinical staff by 2027 unless action is taken to reduce demand through prevention, service transformation and productivity growth. This means that the 190,000 estimate is at the top end of what is likely to be needed, and higher than will be required if the NHS does make these improvements. Nevertheless, HEE says that at the current rate of supply, an additional 72,000 staff could be expected to join the NHS – a potential staffing gap of 118,000.12

Doctors currently make up 18% of NHS clinical staff. This equates to 35,000 of the additional 190,000 clinical staff HEE estimates the NHS could need by 2027, or 3,500 additional doctors per year for ten years. To give a sense of how difficult this level of recruitment might be, over the five-year period September 2012-September 2017, the total number of doctors in the NHS increased by 9,890, or just under 2,000 doctors per year.13

But despite the NHS’s need to keep recruiting overseas staff, there is evidence that the task is becoming harder. Qualified doctors and nurses are highly mobile: it is generally easy for them to find work both in their home country and abroad. So if the UK becomes less attractive in general as a place to live and work, they have plenty of other options.

And there is evidence that the UK is less attractive to EU health professionals than in the past. Survey data suggests that European doctors are less positive about working in the UK now than they were before the EU referendum. A survey of 1,193 EEA doctors working in the UK, carried out by the British Medical Association (BMA) in 2017, found that 42% were considering leaving the UK following the Brexit vote, with a further 23% unsure. Asked to state their commitment to working in the UK, European doctors gave an average rating of six out of ten, down from nine out of ten before the referendum.14 And a survey of over 2,100 EEA doctors in the UK, carried out by the General Medical Council (GMC) in 2017, found that 61% were considering leaving the UK in the future, of which 90% attributed this to the Brexit vote.15

Similarly, a total of 3,962 nurses and midwives from the EEA left the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) register between 2017 and 2018, with just 805 – the lowest ever – joining in the same period. An NMC survey found that almost half (47%) of the EEA nurses and midwives who responded agreed with the statement ‘Brexit has encouraged me to consider working outside the UK’, while 59% said ‘I am leaving or have left the UK’.16

And there is growing evidence that the NHS is finding it more difficult to recruit and retain clinical staff from the EU and EEA. In February it was reported that the number of nurses from the EU registering to work in the UK had dropped by 96% – from 1,304 in July 2016 to 46 in April 2017.17

Our analysis of NHS data shows that in 2017, the total number of EU and EEA-nationality nurses and health visitors working in the NHS in England fell after having risen for several years.

Fig 1. Number of EU/EEA-nationality nurses and health visitors working in the NHS in England18

Difficulty in recruiting staff costs the NHS, and the taxpayer, money. Nurse shortages mean that the NHS spends more on agency nurses to plug gaps. Figures obtained by the Open University under the Freedom of Information Act from around two thirds of NHS trusts earlier this year revealed they spent £1.46 billion on agency nurses in 2017, paying for a total of 79 million locum hours.19

Our analysis of NHS doctor numbers over the last five years shows that while the number of EU/EEA-nationality doctors working in the NHS has continued to rise, there is cause for concern about the service’s ability to recruit EU/EEA-nationality doctors in the near future. The number of doctors with EU or EEA nationality working in the NHS in England has risen in absolute terms over the last five years, but with the rate of increase declining.

Table 3: Number and annual increase in EU/EEA-nationality doctors working in the NHS in England20

201220132014201520162017
Absolute number of doctors with EU/EEA nationality working in the NHS in England7,6998,5309,2739,84610,38610,598
Annual increase831743573540212

GMC data shows a similar picture. All doctors must register with the GMC in order to work in the UK, although not all doctors who are currently registered with the GMC are currently working in the NHS, or working at all.

In February 2018, new figures from the GMC revealed that the number of doctors coming to the UK from the EU fell by 9% in 2017 to an eight-year low. In 2017, 3,458 new doctors from EU countries registered to work, down 26% from a peak of 4,644 in 2014.21

Our analysis of GMC data shows that the annual increase in the registration of doctors in England whose primary medical qualification (PMQ) was achieved in an EEA country other than the UK has been declining every year for the last five years.

Table 4: Number and annual increase in EEA-trained doctors registered by the GMC22

201220132014201520162017
Absolute number of EEA-trained doctors registered in England13,63615,01316,08817,06717,69118,282
Annual increase1,3771,075979624591

 

PART FOUR: LICENSED DOCTORS – WHERE ARE THEY FROM?

All doctors must be licensed by the GMC in order to treat patients in the UK; holding a medical licence is a prerequisite for working as a doctor in the NHS. An analysis of GMC statistics recoding doctors gaining a licence to practise in the UK over the last five years – who may be newly-qualified doctors, doctors moving to this country from overseas or doctors who are returning to the profession after a period away – shows that the overall number has been fairly constant. However, this masks a significant change in the composition of the total.

The number of doctors who gained their primary medical qualification (PMQ) in the EEA has declined significantly, from 3,397, or 25% of all doctors gaining a licence to practise, in 2014 to just 2,057, or 16% of all doctors gaining a licence to practise, in 2017. Meanwhile, the number of doctors whose PMQ was gained outside the UK or EEA has risen in the same period – from 2,623 (19%) in 2014 to 3,774 (29%) in 2017. The number of doctors who qualified in the UK has remained much more stable.

Table 5: Total number of doctors gaining a licence to practise in the UK, by country of primary medical qualification23

201220132014201520162017
UK7,2797,1737,5617,5567,5717,305
EEA3,0373,2133,3972,3982,0482,057
Rest of World2,6862,3962,6232,6523,2153,774
Total13,00212,78213,58112,60612,83413,136

Table 6: Percentage of doctors gaining a licence to practise in the UK, by country of primary medical qualification24

201220132014201520162017
UK56%56%56%60%59%56%
EEA23%25%25%19%16%16%
Rest of World21%19%19%21%25%29%

This fall in the proportion of newly-licensed EEA-qualified doctors is more evidence that it is getting more difficult for the UK to attract clinical staff from the EU to work here. In the absence of any increase in the rate at which UK-qualified doctors are gaining licences to practise, it is non-UK, non-EU doctors who are taking up the slack.

But doctors from the rest of the world face the greatest barriers to entering the UK. While EU workers are currently entitled to live and work anywhere in the EU, meaning that there are no restrictions on the recruitment of EU staff in the NHS, workers from outside the EU are subject to significant immigration restrictions. And because of these restrictions, doctors from outside the EU may not be allowed to enter the country even if they have successfully gained a licence to practise in the UK.

Visa quotas for non-EU immigrants have regularly been met in recent months. Between December 2017 and March 2018, nearly 2,000 doctors and health professionals had visa applications rejected due to the government’s annual cap on skilled workers from non-EU countries.25 According to the Royal College of Physicians, in 2016/17 45% of advertised consultant physician posts were not appointed to, with 65% of failed appointments due to there being no suitable applicants.26

The Tier 2 visa route, which is limited to 20,700 Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) divided into monthly allocations, applies not just to doctors but in general to non-EU workers seeking to enter the UK. It means that foreign doctors who want to work in the NHS, who have been offered jobs in the NHS, who have passed a language test and who have acquired a licence to practise medicine in the UK have been refused permission by the Home Office to enter the country. This makes it difficult for the NHS to resolve pressing staffing shortages or to plan effectively. Any fall in the attractiveness of the UK as a place for EU health professionals to work increases the need of the NHS to recruit from outside the EU, and increases the pressure on the Tier 2 visa route.

 

PART FIVE: RECOMMENDATIONS

Although the UK has voted to leave the European Union, it has not yet left. Freedom of movement throughout the EU, including to and from the UK, still applies. This means that there is no current legal barrier to the NHS recruiting staff from across the EU – although such barriers may be erected in the future, if the UK chooses to leave the single market and chooses to introduce new controls on immigration from the EU.

The current decline in the rate at which the number of European doctors in the NHS is growing, then, or the fall in European nurses and health visitors, cannot be put down to increased immigration controls – there aren’t any. Even before Brexit has happened, it appears that the NHS is a less attractive destination to the European healthcare professionals it desperately needs to continue to attract.

But any new restrictions on immigration from the EU to the UK can be expected to act as an additional disincentive to doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals in the EU who are considering where to live and work – a disincentive affecting a group of people the NHS, and the people who use it, need to come and work here.

Any arbitrary targets for cutting immigration, or immigration restrictions which are motivated by concerns other than the needs of the economy and public services and which introduce barriers to foreign workers who have skills the NHS could use, will inevitably make it harder for the NHS to recruit the staff it needs. Setting such targets and restrictions is a political choice with consequences for all of us.

Global Future recommends:

1. The Tier 2 visa cap should be scrapped. Its only function is to stop employers, including the NHS, hiring people who by definition have passed all the other tests they have been set: they have the required skills, they have a job offer, they are being hired to meet an identified need, they qualify under the rules. The NHS needs to be able to fill vacancies with properly qualified staff to function effectively. Stopping the NHS hiring the doctors and other skilled professionals it needs for the sake of an arbitrary target is not a sensible policy.
2. At the very least, healthcare professionals should be removed from the Tier 2 cap. The current situation sees one aim of government policy (ensuring that the NHS has sufficient qualified staff to provide the level of care patients have the right to expect) conflict with another (reducing immigration below an arbitrary level). When two policies cannot be reconciled, governments have to choose between them. In this case, the NHS and its patients should come first.
3. Healthcare staff recruited from overseas to fill NHS posts should not be subjected to a minimum income threshold, which has seen doctors with job offers from the NHS refused entry into the UK. If someone from abroad has been given an offer of a post the NHS needs to fill, at the appropriate salary level for the job, they should not be blocked from entering the country and taking up the post.
4. The Immigration Skills Charge (ISC) should be scrapped for NHS employers. The ISC is a flat rate of £1,000 per person per year of sponsorship and is paid at the point of assigning a certificate of sponsorship (CoS) to every new non-EEA migrant they sponsor from 6 April 2017.27 The British Medical Association (BMA) and Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have warned that the charge will hit NHS budgets hard.28
5. The Government should abandon its target to cut net migration to the tens of thousands. This is an arbitrary target which is not based on evidence, and even with recent falls in net migration it is not close to being achieved, but it has helped to drive a series of restrictions on immigration which have damaged our businesses, our universities and our public services including the NHS. Scrapping the target would make it easier to make a number of other reforms to the immigration regime which would help, among other employers, the NHS.
6. When designing the UK’s post-Brexit immigration regime, the Government should take the needs of the NHS into account and not make it harder for European health professionals to enter the UK and work in the NHS. Even with Britain still a full member of the EU, and even with freedom of movement, NHS recruitment from the EU is slowing down; but the needs of the NHS mean that in the future it will need to recruit and retain EU staff more effectively than it is now.

 

PART SIX: COMMENTARY – DON’T LET BREXIT PUT OUR NHS AT RISK

Liz Kendall MP

Liz Kendall MP

The NHS is a national service, but it has always relied on staff from all over the world to enable it to provide the healthcare the people of this country need.

One in eight NHS staff, including more than a quarter of doctors and one in six nurses and health visitors, are from outside the UK. Clinical staff are more likely to come from overseas than non-clinical staff. In some vital and life-saving medical specialties, close to half of all NHS doctors are foreigners including 45% of cardio-thoracic surgeons, 45% of paediatric cardiologists and 41% of neurosurgeons. In contrast just 5% of managers and 3% of senior managers are from overseas. If you or someone you love needs an operation, the chances are that at least someone who plays a vital role in your or their treatment will be from abroad.

This is something we should celebrate. Our NHS, a symbol of British national identity and a source of national pride, is also an institution with international co-operation and teamwork at its heart. The NHS is the best of British, but it relies on the world’s best to make it what it is.

That will continue to be the case for the foreseeable future. Put simply, there are not enough trained health professionals in the UK to meet the NHS’s needs. The new medical training places recently announced by the government will not produce any new doctors for six or seven years.

In the meantime, we are set to leave the EU and design a new immigration system – and we need to ensure we do not leave the NHS, or its patients, short-staffed.

Already, the NHS has recruitment problems – and Brexit is making it worse. Surveys have shown that almost half of nurses and midwives from the European Economic Area (EEA) have considered working outside the UK since the Brexit referendum, and between 40 and 60 per cent of EEA doctors are considering leaving the country.

At a time when waiting time targets are being missed and the NHS is spending hundreds of millions of pounds a year on agency staff, the last thing the service needs is an exodus of foreign doctors and nurses. Yet the number of European nurses in the NHS has fallen since 2016, and there are signs that the same could well happen with European doctors. Analysis by Global Future shows that fewer doctors from the EU are gaining a licence to practise medicine in the UK year on year, and that the proportion of EU doctors gaining a licence has fallen from 25% of the total in 2014 to just 16% last year.

If the Government wants non-EU doctors to help solve the NHS’s recruitment problem, we are going to have to let them into the country – and Sajid Javid will have to stop the Home Office working towards different goals from the Department of Health.

The government’s target of getting immigration down to the tens of thousands is a soundbite driving bad policy – especially when it stops your local hospital getting the doctors and nurses it desperately needs.

Thanks to the government’s annual Tier 2 visa cap on skilled workers from non-EU countries, which applies to doctors and nurses amongst others, nearly 2,000 doctors and health professionals had visa applications rejected between December and March. These are people who are needed by our NHS, who want to work in our NHS, who have been offered jobs in our NHS, who have passed a language test, who have acquired a licence to practise medicine here, and who have been refused permission to enter the country by the Home Office. If that sounds crazy to you, it’s because it is.

European health professionals are still allowed to come here without jumping through these hoops – but they seem increasingly unwilling to do so, and those who are here already are increasingly looking to leave. Non-European health professionals who still do want to come here are being turned away, even when the NHS wants to give them jobs. And our NHS – and its patients – are the ones who suffer as a result. If we introduce new restrictions on EU immigration after Brexit, and apply them to NHS staff, then the situation will only get worse.

We should be proud of the fact that we still have a world-class health service. But to keep it that way, we need to make sure we can still attract some of the best clinicians in the world. If we are to have the National Health Service we all want, we need it to continue to be an international health service too.

Liz Kendall has been the MP for Leicester West since 2010. From 2011-2015 she served as the Shadow Minister for Care and Older People. Prior to her election she worked as Director of the Ambulance Service Network – the national organisation that represents all NHS ambulance services – and Director of the Maternity Alliance charity. Liz stood to be leader of the Labour Party in 2015.

 

REFERENCES

  1. https://www.skillsforcare.org.……-and-workforce-in-England.aspx
  2. Global Future analysis of NHS Digital, Staff by nationality and staff group, September 2010 to 2017. https://digital.nhs.uk/data-an……f-group-september-2010-to-2017. Headcount totals may not sum due to some staff working in more than one role.
  3. Global Future analysis of NHS Digital, HCHS doctors by specialty and nationality group, October 2017. https://digital.nhs.uk/data-an……nationality-group-october-2017
  4. https://www.health.org.uk/site……th/files/SMFCProfileTrends.pdf. p. 15
  5. https://www.gov.uk/government/……ical-training-places-announced
  6. https://nhsproviders.org/a-bet……the-workforce-supply-challenge
  7. https://nhsproviders.org/a-bet……the-workforce-supply-challenge
  8. https://improvement.nhs.uk/res……vider-sector-quarter-3-201718/
  9. https://www.england.nhs.uk/sta……-emergency-admissions-2017-18/
  10. https://www.england.nhs.uk/sta……aiting-times/rtt-data-2017-18/
  11. https://improvement.nhs.uk/doc……2017-18_performance_report.pdf
  12. https://hee.nhs.uk/sites/defau……for%20England%20to%202027.pdf,. p. 75
  13. Global Future analysis of NHS Digital, Staff by nationality and staff group, September 2010 to 2017. https://digital.nhs.uk/data-an……f-group-september-2010-to-2017
  14. https://www.bma.org.uk/news/me……aving-uk-following-brexit-vote
  15. https://www.gmc-uk.org/-/media……bout/somep-2017-final-full.pdf. p. 9
  16. https://www.nmc.org.uk/globala……ions/the-nmc-register-2018.pdf
  17. Data obtained through a freedom of information request showed that the number of nurses from the EU registering to work in the UK dropped by a staggering 96 per cent – from 1,304 in July 2016, to 46 in April 2017. https://www.independent.co.uk/……rell-immigration-a8225666.html
  18. Global Future analysis of NHS Digital, Staff by nationality and staff group, September 2010 to 2017. https://digital.nhs.uk/data-an……f-group-september-2010-to-2017
  19. Figures obtained by the Open University under the Freedom of Information Act from around two thirds of NHS trusts earlier this year revealed they spent £1.46 billion on agency nurses in 2017, paying for a total of 79 million locum hours. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/ne……cost-nhs-24-billion-last-year/
  20. Global Future analysis of NHS Digital, Staff by nationality and staff group, September 2010 to 2017. https://digital.nhs.uk/data-an……f-group-september-2010-to-2017
  21. The number of doctors coming to the U.K. from the European Union fell 9 percent in 2017 to an eight-year low, according to new figures from the U.K.’s General Medical Council obtained by Bloomberg through a freedom of information request. There were 3,458 new doctors from EU countries who registered to work in 2017, down 26 percent from a peak of 4,644 in 2014, the council’s data show. https://www.bloomberg.com/news……ctors-are-giving-up-on-the-u-k
  22. Global Future analysis of https://www.gmc-uk.org/-/media……CA65A17D613A7D4F426E1DE8F90152. Table 5
  23. Global Future analysis of General Medical Council, The State of Medical Education and Practice in the UK, 2017. https://www.gmc-uk.org/-/media……EBD840017B908DBF0328CD840640A1. p. 39. The GMC also records the number of doctors who relinquish their licence to practise each year. There was a sharp increase in doctors relinquishing their licences in 2013 which has since diminished, but much of this is likely to be a result of the introduction of revalidation, which requires doctors to be revalidated as fit to practise every five years and led to a significant number of doctors deciding that they did not need to take up or renew their licence. This means that the net figure, joiners minus leavers, is unlikely to provide a reliable picture of recent doctor recruitment.
  24. Global Future analysis of General Medical Council, The State of Medical Education and Practice in the UK, 2017. somep-2017-final-full.pdf. p. 39. Columns may not sum due to rounding.
  25. https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/ne……ent-s-tier-2-visa-cap-policy-0
  26. https://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/ne……-restrictions-overseas-doctors
  27. http://www.nhsemployers.org/yo……-2/resident-labour-market-test. The GMC also records the number of doctors who relinquish their licence to practise each year. There was a sharp increase in doctors relinquishing their licences in 2013 which has since diminished, but much of this is likely to be a result of the introduction of revalidation, which requires doctors to be revalidated as fit to practise every five years and led to a significant number of doctors deciding that they did not need to take up or renew their licence. This means that the net figure, joiners minus leavers, is unlikely to provide a reliable picture of recent doctor recruitment.
  28. http://workpermit.com/news/uni……harge-under-tier-2-sponsorship

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