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Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Is the Prime Minister sacrificing the NHS in pursuit of pointless immigration quotas

The Independent carries the astonishing news that Theresa May is said to have overruled other cabinet ministers who argued that more foreign doctors are desperately needed to help meet staff shortages in the NHS.

They say that despite pressure from the home secretary, health secretary and business secretary, May is said to have refused to budge on rules that restrict the number of visas given to specialist workers from overseas.

They say that the prime minister has been widely criticised for the “hostile environment” she presided over as home secretary between 2010 and 2016. However, as this passage from former Liberal Democrat Minister, David Laws' book on Coalition, part of the problem on illegal immigration she is seeking to address today can be traced back to her lack of action at the Home Office on border checks.

The paper adds that as well as Amber Rudd, Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, and Greg Clark, the business secretary, are reported to have urged the prime minister to soften her stance:

They are said to have been lobbying Downing Street for several months amid growing concern among NHS executives and business leaders about the impact visa restrictions, coupled with Brexit, are having on the availability of skilled workers in the UK.

Last week, NHS executives warned the tough visa restrictions, designed to help the Conservatives meet their promise to cut net migration to the “tens of thousands”, have led to more than 400 overseas doctors being turned away since December and are depriving hospitals of desperately needed staff.

Even by Tory standards this inflexibility over visas is unbelieveable. It seems that the Tories are prepared to sacrifice the health services (and the economy) over an inflexible and unevidenced approach to immigration.
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