Posted on November 9, 2022

Keir Starmer: Immigration Not Quick Fix to NHS Problems

BBC, November 5, 2022

The UK is recruiting too many people from overseas into the NHS, Sir Keir Starmer has said.

The Labour leader argued immigration was not the solution to a staffing crisis as he called for more recruitment from within the UK.

It came as new data revealed staffing issues were linked to two deaths at a Glasgow hospital in one month.

Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf expects this winter to be “one of the most difficult NHS Scotland has faced”.

About 6,000 nursing and midwifery posts are unfilled in Scotland’s NHS, while the English health service is said to be facing its worst-ever staffing crisis.

In England, 34% of doctors joining the health service last year came from overseas – up from 18% in 2014.

Scotland’s SNP government is spending £8m on hiring 750 nurses and midwives from overseas this winter.

Labour has pledged to take on an extra 7,500 medical students every year if the party wins the next general election.

In an interview on BBC Scotland’s The Sunday Show, Sir Keir said those people would be trained into the NHS “from here”.

Asked how many people he would be prepared to let into the country under a managed migration plan, he said: “We don’t want open borders. Freedom of movement has gone and it’s not coming back.

“So that means fair rules, firm rules, a points-based system.

“What I would like to see is the numbers go down in some areas. I think we’re recruiting too many people from overseas into, for example, the health service.

“But on the other hand, if we need high-skilled people in innovation in tech to set up factories etc, then I would encourage that.”