Thank you to all those who have contacted me about this important issue.
I absolutely understand and share your concerns because EU nationals make a vital contribution to our NHS. This is especially so in our local Addenbrooke’s hospital where we have a higher than average % of staff from overseas.
There are I suspect other factors which may have contributed to the fall in numbers. This could be due to the introduction of a new English language test for NHS staff from the EU, and falling unemployment levels in countries such as Spain and Poland, which had previously contributed many nurses to the NHS.
I keep in regular contact with both Addenbrooke's and the Royal Papworth to understand all their workforce pressures. Indeed I am currently working with the Home Secretary to see what we can do to amend the current Tier 2 visa requirements for doctors seeking employment in the NHS. While nurses are on the shortage skills list, peculiarly Doctors are not! I am hoping to get that changed.
As a rule, I do not sign EDM’s as they are affectionately known as ‘parliamentary graffiti' and achieve little if anything. I am more interested in achieving change so I am pleased the Home Secretary is working with me on this important issue.
*UPDATE - June 2018* - https://www.heidisouthcambs.co.uk/heidi-celebrates-nhs-visa-reform-success