DAUK in the Independent: Boris Johnson drops NHS fee for migrant healthcare workers

Boris Johnson has ordered the removal of the NHS migrant surcharge from health and care workers, in a U-turn a day after telling the House of Commons it would stay.

The climbdown came amid intense pressure on the prime minister over the £624-a-year charge, branded “immoral and monstrous” by former Conservative chairman Chris Patten.

It followed an earlier U-turn by home secretary Priti Patel when she extended a bereavement scheme for NHS migrant workers to include support staff like porters and cleaners alongside doctors and nurses.

The president of the Doctors’ Association UK, Samantha Batt-Rawden, said it should not have taken a pandemic for the prime minister to recognise the value of foreign-born personnel to the NHS.

Welcoming his climbdown, Dr Batt-Rawden said: “At a time when doctors and nurses from overseas are putting their lives on the line, exempting them from the surcharge is only right in recognition of their service to our country.

“We now must move forward in acknowledging the enormous contribution of healthcare workers to our health service. DAUK will continue to call for Indefinite Leave to Remain for all frontline healthcare workers who have served in the NHS during the pandemic.”