Thank you for contacting me about the NHS Visa Cap.
It is of course appalling that doctors and nurses from overseas have been denied visas by the Home Office.
As you will know the NHS is under increasing pressure. The worst winter crisis on record caused unprecedented misery for thousands of patients and staff. A&E’s are overstretched and overcrowded, key performance targets are being missed month after month. Due to the failure of the Government’s health policy, NHS England have announced that the four hour A&E target will now not be met until March 2019. This follows the indefinite suspension of the 18 week treatment target. NHS England have made clear that core treatment targets cannot be met because of the funding settlement imposed by the Government.
I meet regularly with the local hospitals and GPs and they tell me that they could recruit literally dozens, if not hundreds of doctors and nurses tomorrow but the people just aren’t out there to recruit.
As ever, under this Government it is the patients who lose out.
The NHS have reached crisis point when it comes to staff recruitment and retention. A lack of funding means that staff are working double shifts and are using foodbanks to provide for their families. It is important that when the NHS get the chance to recruit for more doctors and nurses and when we have overseas staff who are willing to come to the UK and work for such an invaluable service then we should be welcoming them with open arms not turning them away.
I am pleased that the Government announced that doctors and nurses are to be excluded from the cap on skilled worker visas, meaning that there will be no restriction on the number of doctors and nurses who can be employed through the Tier 2 visa route. This would give the NHS the ability to recruit doctors and nurses from overseas.
However, there is no mention as to when this policy will come into place and in the meantime there are many healthcare professionals being turned away from entering the UK. I have written to the Home Secretary to ask when this policy will be put into place. As soon as I have received a response I will of course contact you again.