Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin took Theresa May to task at Prime Minister’s questions recently over a doctor who planned to work locally but had his visa application refused six times because of strict Government immigration rules.
The experienced paediatric doctor intended to work within the Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust, which is constantly battling to recruit more doctors and nurses to cope with demand.
But thanks the to the Government’s ‘hostile environment’ the doctor eventually gave up after his sixth visa rejection.
Batley and Spen MP Tracy Brabin asked Theresa May during PMQs: “Mid Yorkshire NHS Hospital Trust is struggling to recruit doctors because of immigration rules. One example is an experienced paediatric doctor who’s applied for a visa every six months and now is giving up because he’s been rejected six times.
“What can the Prime Minister say to my constituents to reassure them that the Home Office delays won’t impact on the safety and health of their loved ones at this time of greatest need?”
The Prime Minister’s vague response mentioned unspecified steps and did little to reassure those who struggle to see a doctor in hospital.
Theresa May responded: “We do keep the issue of the tier 2 visas under review in relation to the health services – we’ve already taken steps. We took steps a while back to ensure the numbers could be adjusted to reflect the need for nurses and we continue to look at the situation in relation to doctors.”
Because of a cap on foreign skilled workers, 400 doctors have been unable to take up hospital posts since December last year. Many of the doctors in question are needed urgently to staff hospital wards.
Ms Brabin later added: “These rules are not working in the best interests of patients or of our NHS, and are leaving people without the level of care they need and deserve.
“NHS workers need to be taken out of this tier 2 visa system so that hospitals can properly staff their wards and stop threatening patient care and safety.
“The NHS is facing the biggest crisis in its 70 year history and the all the Government can commit to doing is to ‘look at the situation’.
“Looking at the situation will not stop poorly people waiting for hours on end in hospital corridors and waiting rooms, or the postponement of tens of thousands of operations.
“The time for looking is over – it is now time for action. The NHS needs urgent investment and it needs it now.”