Controversial former prime minister Tony Blair has embarrassed the so-called ‘Remain Resistance’ by repeating debunked claims that the Brexit vote has created “significant staff shortages in the NHS”.
In an interview on the January 4th edition of the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, the Iraq War architect reiterated old claims of a ‘Brexodus’ of EU nurses from Britain’s socialised government-run health service as a result of the vote to Leave the European Union, in an attempt to buttress his arguments for a second referendum.
However, investigations by Ross Clark for The Daily Mail and Mark Tinsley for BrexitCentral have found that, while the number of EU nurses being registered by the Nursing and Midwifery Council has fallen, the number of EU staffers in the NHS is still rising overall, and currently stands at an all-time high.
Tony ‘We All Make Mistakes’ Blair remains arguably the single strongest argument for a full, clean Brexit as soon as practicably possible. https://t.co/3AQr31R1eG
— Jack Montgomery ن (@JackBMontgomery) January 4, 2018
Clark noted that, while the Remain-supporting Guardian et al “were happy to quote the number of EU staff leaving” when claims of post-referendum shortages were first made in early 2017, “they failed to mention the number of EU staff who joined the NHS.”
He discovered that, while the NHS in England lost 9,832 staff from the EU between June 2016 and June 2017, 13,013 were added to the socialised health provider’s payroll over the same period.
“Far from the exodus the pro-Remain establishment wants us to believe has taken place, this represented a net rise of 3,181 in the number of EU citizens working in our health service,” he observed.
The number of staff from EU in @NHSEngland rose 5% in year following Brexit vote
June 2016: 58,698
June 2017: 61,891
— Paul Kelso (@pkelso) September 21, 2017
Moreover, as BBC presenter John Humphrys pointed out during his interview with Blair, the fall in the number of new EU nurses being registered by the NHS has been attributed to the introduction of new English-language tests for foreign hires — not Brexit.
Indeed, the idea that Britain’s pending departure from the European Union is discouraging EU citizens from applying for work appears to be contradicted, with Tinsely pointing out that the stats for nurses in particular “vary considerably by nationality”.
He notes that while Spanish nurses are down 518 and Portuguese nurses down 228, Romania, Polish, and Greek nurses are up 248, 120, and 57, respectively.
“Are Spanish nurses leaving due to Brexit, but Romanians joining in spite of it?” he asks.
Both Clark and Tinsley based their conclusions on analyses of publicly available data provided by NHS Digital.