FOREIGN HEALTHCARE STAFF HAVE RISKED THEIR LIVES FOR THIS COUNTRY. IT IS TIME THE GOVERNMENT RECOGNISES THIS SACRIFICE AND ALLOWS THEM TO CALL THE UK HOME.
The immigration rhetoric and policies of the recent past has led to many of our valued overseas colleagues feeling crestfallen, unappreciated, and exploited. Yet, at a time of national crisis foreign healthcare workers have put their lives on the line to serve this country.
Now it is time that the Government recognises the sacrifice of those that came to our nation’s aid at its time of greatest need.
The Doctors’ Association UK welcomes the introduction of a Bill by the Liberal Democrats calling on the Government to offer indefinite leave to remain to foreign nationals currently working in the health and social care sectors, an issue on which DAUK has campaigned on for a long time.
With 153000 NHS workers reporting a non-British nationality, it is vital that we attract the “best and brightest” to the NHS, or else risk the NHS losing its status as a world class health service. We entered this pandemic severely short-staffed, with over 10,000 vacancies for doctors, and 100,000 for nurses. An immigration policy that acknowledges reality rather than fixed ideologies is vital and essential. In 2020, both the Prime Minister’s and the Leader of the Opposition’s families have been the beneficiary of the exemplary care that such migrant workers provide. This issue is not confined by party politics and should not be treated as such. DAUK hopes that this recognised as such and that this Bill for Indefinite Leave to Remain generates unanimous cross-party support.
Around 30% of NHS doctors were born overseas in 1971 and that figure remains the same today. They have made vital contributions to the quality of NHS care as well as bringing with them fresh expertise and perspectives.
Having contributed so much in terms of their service, their taxation and in some tragic cases, their lives, we would strongly support all that can be done to reduce the burden of immigration concerns of these workers and their families. We hope that all MPs will recognise their sacrifice and vote accordingly.
Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden, President of the Doctors’ Association UK said:
“Frontline health and social care workers from overseas have risked their lives for this country during this national emergency. Sadly, many have paid the ultimate price for doing so. It is morally unconscionable that we do not recognise the sacrifice of foreign healthcare workers at the time of our nation’s greatest need. Doctors have told us time and time again of their devastation at being made to feel so unwelcome in this country despite their service to the NHS. Doctors have told us they feel ‘unwelcome’ ‘dispensable’ and ‘forgotten’. Many have said they feel like “second-class citizens” and that after they have risked their lives that they have been ‘completely abandoned’ by this Government.
For that reason the Doctors’ Association UK fully supports the Liberal Democrats in their campaign for Indefinite Leave to Remain for all frontline healthcare and social care staff, something we have been calling for for many months. It is the very least we can do to honour our colleagues from overseas who have gone above and beyond to keep us all safe. It is time that they are able to finally call this place home”.
1. The Doctors’ Association UK (DAUK) is a professional association for UK doctors. Run by frontline NHS doctors, DAUK campaigns for patients and the NHS as well as advocating for the medical profession.
2. DAUK has consistently called for Indefinite Leave to Remain for all frontline health and social care workers in our Protect the Frontline campaign.