Walking the NHS into the light: what will a post Brexit NHS look like?

Immigration – a burden on NHS recruitment?

The burden on the NHS was one of the major issues used as a reason to leave the EU in the recent referendum. Brexit was proposed as one of the solutions as the numbers of immigrants stayed far higher than limits set by the government.

Promises of £350m a week were made, and then quickly squirmed out of. Let’s assume a certain bus got a re-spray. This was linked to education and housing in an attempt to make Brexit sound like the only viable solution.

However, the NHS has suffered greatly under Conservative power for many years. Substantial and regular cuts have challenged staff numbers in particular. Hospital or department closures have been widespread; redundancies growing; and serious problems in recruitment are brewing.

Part of this includes the removal of the training bursary for nurses which could result in lower numbers entering training. This could result in the profession becoming the reserve of those who can afford to train, rather than those who are good enough.

In it for the money?

Doctors and nurses do not enter their profession for the money, they do it because they are passionate about the work. But let’s not be coy about this: we all have rent or mortgages to pay, families to feed, and lives to live. Put too much pressure on those basics and at some point the system breaks and the only people left are those who can afford to be.

The inevitable result: surely standards will drop.

The same thing has been happening in the education system over the past ten-to-fifteen years.  As always, the public are woefully under-informed as to what has been going on.

There is no let-up in sight for the NHS. It costs more to go to university; more to train to be a nurse; and it is harder to get a visa from non-EU or non-EEA countries. After Brexit, tighter restrictions on immigration numbers could result in lower recruitment from the UE as well. The promise of £350m a week was a gross and fanciful misrepresentation, and now the outlook for the NHS looks pretty grim.

Migrant pegs – NHS holes.

Where does immigration really fit into all this, and how can legal firms like UK Immigration Solicitors play a part?
The Home Office continually changes the rules on immigration, making refusals of applications more likely. It is true that recent statistics (Home Office, March 2015) have shown an increase in granted applications, but how will this change?

We have entered a kind of twilight-zone when it comes to immigration and work visas as we wait to see what will happen as a result of the Brexit vote. If the rules on EU migrants tighten it might be that the rules on non-EU members tighten further still. This could mean that the rules change again and UKVI ask for even more specified evidence. However, they still don’t explain to the lay person what this is or how to use it.

The result: failed applications that keep immigration numbers down.  Happy politicians appeasing a certain set of the anti-immigration voters.

But an unhappy public watching the NHS die.

So when the UK finally triggers the act of leaving the EU it could mean that even EU citizens might find themselves facing tough immigration rules similar to non-EEA workers do now.

We simply don’t know. With 5% of the nurses and 10% of doctors are EU migrants, whatever changes happen will affect a large number of NHS staff in one way or another.

Given the recent problems in the NHS, including the strikes, the government need to tread carefully or face even greater negative reactions later down the line.

If great care isn’t take we could end up walking the NHS right into the light.

Fact checking website giving interesting information about the training and employment statisitics in the NHS.