Lib Dem Health Spokesperson Luciana Berger has spoken out about how Brexit would harm our NHS, emphasising how reliant we are on EU doctors and nurses. Analysis done by the Labour Party highlights that NHS staff work a million hours of unpaid overtime every week.
That doesn’t surprise me. When my husband was seriously ill three years ago, in the 51 nights he was in hospital, only once did I see one member of staff actually leave at the end of their shift. And the situation has got much worse since then as we lose thousands of EU nurses every year.
Luciana criticised Labour’s approach to Brexit:
A key reason NHS staff are working overtime is because of the serious shortages in the number of doctors and nurses working in the NHS. Part of that shortage is due to the net loss of 5,000 EU nurses in the last two years alone.
Only yesterday, Labour failed yet again to confirm their position on freedom of movement. With the NHS reliant on 10,000 EU doctors and 20,000 EU nurses, Labour’s support for Brexit is baffling as it will be so damaging for our NHS and hardworking staff.
In the past week we have learnt about the Conservative plan to impose a Nurse Tax on any new EU health professional coming to treat NHS patients. The stakes could not be higher. Labour and the Conservatives must stop being so irresponsible with our NHS.
The Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit to protect our NHS. We will build a brighter future by investing an extra £35 billion in our NHS by adding a penny on income tax. In addition we will implement a national recruitment strategy to ensure we never again suffer shortages of nurses, doctors and other health professionals.
If Labour are bad, the Tories are terrible. They would charge nurses who come to this country to use the NHS they work for. This would cost their families thousands of pounds.
Our Home Affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine slammed this “Nurse Tax” last week, saying:
The Conservatives have effectively created a new Nurse Tax. It is an insult to the thousands of people who dedicate their lives coming to work for our health service from the EU.
The NHS currently relies on 10,000 doctors and 20,000 nurses from elsewhere in the EU, and we’ve already lost more than 5,000 EU nurses in the last 2 years.
Brexit is making the nursing crisis worse, and the only cure the Tories can offer is a new Nurse Tax.
The Liberal Democrats have the solution to the nursing crisis, Stop Brexit so that we can build a brighter future for our precious NHS.
We are already struggling to maintain safe staffing levels on hospital wards. Brexit simply makes that job more difficult. Why on earth would the EU nationals we need pay thousands to come here when they could live and work for free in 27 other countries?
* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings