PM faces revolt by Tory MPs over immigration rules for NHS workers amid warnings of staff shortages
Today, The Times newspaper revealed that Theresa May, the UK Prime Minister, is facing a backbench revolt over the availability of foreign workers for the NHS.
Dozens of Conservative MP’s have now signed a letter written by Heidi Allen, the MP for South Cambridgeshire, to the Prime Minister begging for a relaxation of immigration rules to address the NHS staffing shortage.
The letter states that between December 2017 and March 2018, 1,518 doctors were refused the Certificate of Sponsorship that is needed for a Tier 2 visa. The letter writes asking for NHS professionals to be exempt from the Tier 2 process. “We are confident this would enjoy full public support” writes Allen.
“Our current policy is forcing the country to make a binary choice between professionals needed to grow the economy and professionals needed to staff our health system. Without urgent intervention, we believe our NHS is heading towards a perfect storm”.
The letter was intended to be private and there are no plans to publicise the names of the other signatories. However, it was copied to Sajid Javid, the home secretary, and Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary. Who have plans to work on this issue together.
The British Medical Journal opened a petition on the issue this week which can be signed here: http://bit.ly/2JffJd2. The BMJ’s campaign #ScrapTheCap reinforces that hundreds of NHS posts remain unfilled, which threatened the care of patients. Fiona Godlee, editor-in-chief, said: “There’s a sort of madness in the current restrictions. The UK has always relied on and welcomed doctors from overseas. Now, just when we most need them, we are putting roadblocks in their way.”
Sam Coates, D. (2018) Relax visa rules for doctors and nurses, Tories tell May. [online] Thetimes.co.uk Available at: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/relax-visa-rules-for-doctors-and-nurses-tories-tell-may-2xb3lkhqq