Yesterday in the Senedd, Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds requested that the Welsh Government issues a statement on the possibility that 80 or 160 overseas trainee GPs in Wales may be forced to leave the country.
The request came as the Lib Dems revealed that across the border in England, 6.2 million people waited over eight days for a GP appointment in February, up 9 per cent on the previous month.
A report by the Welsh BMA GPs committee earlier this year highlighted that current Home Office rules implemented by Priti Patel and the Conservatives mean that individuals must have worked for five years under a Skilled Workers Visa in order to be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILTR).
This could result in 80 out of this year’s 160 GP trainees in Wales not being eligible to stay in the country under ILTR because of limited work opportunities at Welsh GP practices that serve as established Skilled Worker visa sponsors.
Commenting Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader Jane Dodds MS said:
It is unbelievable that the Conservatives’ backward immigration policies look set to rob Wales of a potential 80 future GPs while we are suffering serious backlogs in the NHS and a shortage of GPs especially.
With the estimated needed number of new GPs per year in Wales at 200, we cannot afford to lose 80 out of the current 160 trainees.
Priti Patel and the Conservatives must urgently get their act together, stop scaremongering over immigration and put in place sensible immigration policies that work for our economy and public services. For far too long the Conservatives’ dogmatic view on immigration has taken priority over the country’s actual needs.
The Welsh Labour Government also needs to get to grips with recruitment and retention in Wales, and put in place a long-term plan to address this issue. They must continue to press the UK Government to urgently change its policy on this matter.
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