In the debate surrounding immigration, we are often told the only thing keeping our health care system intact is the high number of EU migrants working within our National Health Service. However, recent research by Get Britain Out has revealed this wrong and this is just another attempt to peddle the myth Britain needs the European Union. A Freedom of Information request we made to the Health and Social Care Information Centre has revealed a mere 4% of NHS workers are EU migrants, with British citizens making up 89% of the workforce.
This may be a surprise to some. In areas with large migrant populations, there may inevitably be a larger number of EU migrants working in health care. On average however, these migrants make up a tiny portion of our NHS workforce and Britain could easily survive perfectly without unlimited EU immigration. Indeed, Britain would flourish if we were not a member of the European Union! Over 12,000 more NHS workers come from Commonwealth or Anglosphere countries than come from the EU.
The latest immigration figures show that between June 2013 and this year, net immigration from the EU reached 142,000 with the figure from non-EU countries at 168,000. Between September 2011 and September 2012 overall net immigration was just 153,000, showing the astronomical increase in immigration levels over the last year.
With immigration now so high, and the proportion of NHS workers from the EU so low, unrestricted immigration from the EU is clearly having a negative impact on the NHS, through longer waiting times, shortages of beds and prescriptions.
The Prime Minister has proved he is incapable of lowering migration from the EU, so in order to cut overall immigration the government is now trying to shut out skilled migrants from the Commonwealth. These migrants are not only more likely to want to work in the NHS, but are also more likely to have the language skills, strong qualifications and cultural ties to make good health care professionals. Because of this, our membership of the EU is actually damaging the NHS and as a result, the health of Britain.
Of the extra £2 billion per year until 2020 George Osborne has pledged to the NHS, the majority of this should be allocated to train British NHS workers. Instead most of it will be used in a forlorn attempt to keep our chins above water in the face of the extra 200,000 people clambering over borders into Britain every year.
The government must bring in a fair immigration system for Britain. One which does not favour migrants from EU countries at the expense of migrants from the rest of the world. The best way to achieve this is to introduce a points-based system which judges all potential migrants on their merits and skills instead of their country of origin, as Australia does. This is only possible by voting to Get Britain Out of the EU in 2017.
Luke Stanley is a Research Executive at Get Britain Out