The Conservatives’ “irresponsible and illogical” immigration policies are stopping nurses coming to work in Wales and the Borders.
In August, I received a letter from the Communications Director of the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust, Adrian Osborne, explaining that their international recruitment programme faced delays. It stated:
“…we have not been successful in securing Certificates of Sponsorship from the Home Office to bring these nurses to our wards. This is because nursing is neither on the Shortage Occupation List nor do these posts secure enough points for them to be a priority for the Migration Advisory Committee.”
I wrote to the Home Secretary highlighting the importance of putting nursing on the Shortage Occupation List, yet the Immigration Minister defended the “the long term decision to train our workforce at home”.
The Conservative Government also plans to introduce a new pay threshold for migrants, which would mean that non-European Union workers will have to leave the UK after six years, if they are not earning at least £35,000. This would include many nurses.
The Tories’ irresponsible and illogical attitude to immigration is contributing to an NHS staffing crisis in Wales.
What kind of government wants to stop vitally needed nurses coming to work in our country? This is reckless in the extreme.
Of course we need to be training nurses in this country and we need a clear strategy to train our workforce for the future, but patients need support now, not in ten years’ time.
Without the Liberal Democrats in government, the Tories are unleashing mean-spirited policies that are damaging public services.
If we are to have safe nurse staffing levels on wards, which the Welsh Liberal Democrats have been campaigning for, then at least in the short term we will need to recruit talent from both at home and abroad.
While the Labour Government in Wales has a huge amount to answer for with regards to failings in our health service, these problems are being exacerbated by the Tories. Patients in Mid Wales and beyond are being let down by both parties.