The House of Commons Library has written a paper on the number of NHS staff who are from overseas. Full report here (note that it just covers England).
The report contains the following table which shows the great diversity within the workforce.
The report has been written to provide factual evidence into debates about the impact of Brexit on the NHS, though the non-EU stats are equally relevant.
We all know the NHS is heavily reliant on non-UK national workers, and the report headline is that 12% of NHS staff are nationals of a country other than the UK (split 5% EU, and 7% non-EU).
However, when you look at the breakdown by job type I’m still amazed to read that this includes 25.7% of Doctors (9.7% EU, and 16.0% non-EU). With Brexit, alongside the government’s wider obsession with lowering the immigration figures (even if you’re a skilled potential NHS worker, or an overseas student with money to pay for your course), then you have to worry about future staffing levels. It seems that plenty of A&E departments are already struggling, and that trend seems likely to spread. As the report itself notes, this changing backdrop is coming “at a time when services are already under pressure”.
(I’m sure some reading this will be thinking it will be a good thing if the NHS stops syphoning off qualified people from other (poorer) countries, and I have sympathy with that sentiment.)
Real cynics, of which I try not to be one, go on about the Conservatives secret aim being to starve state bodies of investment/support (including sufficient staff) to the point where they can say that they are “broken” and “not fit for purpose” and then privatise them. I can feel myself being dragged from sceptic to cynic…..