Thank you to those who have contacted me about the Immigration Bill Post Brexit.
The Government wants to ensure the NHS is always there for you and your family, whenever you need it.
An ageing society, together with a greater focus on care quality, has increased the demand for doctors in the NHS. As services have become stretched, the cost of employing temporary agency or locum workers has substantially increased and so the Government has taken steps to prepare our health service for the future.
From September 2018, the number of medical school places will increase by up to a quarter, meaning up to 1,500 more student places a year, the second largest increase in the NHS’s history. This will help to bring down the £1.2 billion medical locum bill while also reducing rota gaps and GP shortages.
Currently one quarter of NHS doctors come from overseas and they do a fantastic job. The Government has been clear that EU nationals who are already here should be allowed to stay post-Brexit. However, it is neither justifiable nor sustainable to carry on raiding these countries in order to meet our own growing needs. Our dependency on immigration will be replaced by home grown talent and I am confident that the NHS will be self-sufficient in staff by the end of the next parliament.
Given each extra medical school place costs £220,000 to the taxpayer, we must also ensure this money is being spent on staff for our NHS. Therefore, in future, the Government will ask all doctors trained on the NHS to commit a minimum of four years’ service after graduation, as the vast majority already do. Similar loyalty schemes exist to protect the taxpayer in other health systems and indeed in our own armed forces.
A medical qualification is of unparalleled value and opens up opportunities across the world. While nobody will have those choices taken away from them, it is only right that NHS resources are focussed on training the NHS workforce.