Union Boss says “Wollaston is wrong to say Remain will protect the NHS”

Why Sarah Wollaston is wrong to say Remain will protect the NHS – just look at these nurse recruitment figures

Dr Sarah Wollaston is a member of Parliament for the constituency of Totnes and it was reported that she has moved from ‘Leave’ to ‘Remain’  because she believes that the NHS will be safer if Britain remains in the EU’.

She seems to have forgotten or simply doesn’t careabout the massive reduction in local nurses recruitment:

Stephen Morris, General Secretary of the Workers of England Union stated

“The NHS doesn’t need to rely on EU workers to function it can very easily survive by recruiting the local people who have actually applied to be nurses”.

Reported figures

Percentage of NHS Trusts recruiting abroad

In 2009 -2010 11% of NHS Trusts recruited abroad, by 2014 -2015 that figure had increased to 29%. Although, some reports now put it as high as 74% of Trusts in England and Wales recruiting abroad.

The amount of home grown nursing recruits not accepted for training

At the same time an RCN survey reported that in 2012 there were 54,000 home grown applicants a year for 20,092 nurse training places. This means that local applicants were being rejected for already trained oversee nurses. A 12% cut in trainings places for Nurses in 2012 has meant fewer nurses in 2014/15 were available.

This means many young local people are not being given the opportunity to train as nurses. Reports state that nurse training places across the UK have reduced even further, over 4 years by as much as 8,000 places, with some reports going even further and putting the figure as high as 80,000 students across the UK being told they can’t train as nurses.

Around 7,500 nurses from countries such as Spain, Romania and Italy registered to work in the UK last year but there is real concern that a significant percentage of these nurses will not settle long term in the UK but return to their home country. Also half of the oversee nurses aren’t actually from the EU, a significant amount are from the Philippines, so leaving the EU would not affect oversees recruitment anyway. The point is that NHS Trusts need to be forced to show that they have actively attempted to recruit locally before going abroad.

Both the RCN and the BMA blame poor workplace planning in nurses and doctors recruitment as the main reason for the skill shortage. (9% of the NHS workforce is unfilled vacancies). Some reports say that it costs £74,000 to train a home grown nurse and recruitment oversees is a cheaper option.  ‘Leaving’ the EU will actually help our workforce gain jobs and will ensure that local people will be trained for local jobs. It will force the government to address the nurse shortages by investing in training and not look at the cheaper but short term option of oversees recruitment.

Estimated cost of using agency workers

However many NHS Trust have resorted to expensive ‘agency nurses’ to fill the posts. Total revenue at 10 of UK’s biggest medical recruiters rose by almost 40 per cent over three years, with the companies posting overall takings of £7.7 billion since 2009.

Cost of recruiting Trips

It would also appear that some NHS trusts are spending vast amounts on ‘recruiting trips’ abroad for their HR staff.  (Aintree University Hospital Foundation Trust, is reported to have spent £46,000 on a trip to Madrid to recruit 20 nurses, United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust, spent £100,000 on a trip to Athens, to recruit 39 Greek nurses)

Stephen Morris

General Secretary

Workers of England Trade Union

Tel: 0300 302 1515