Clive Bull is Leading Britain's Conversation, including the Legal Hour at 9pm.
3 October 2017, 17:58
EU nurses could be given priority to stay in the UK if there is a shortage within the NHS after Brexit, the Health Secretary has hinted to LBC.
Jeremy Hunt says “priority” will “always be given” to areas in health and social care when the debate turns to immigration.
Last month the government was warned Britain’s shortage of nurses and midwives could increase by 20,000 within three years if trends following the EU referendum continue.
Mr Hunt said although there was a “dent” in the number of NHS staff being recruited from Europe, there was “no evidence” that staff from the continent were returning home.
However, he attempted to douse any speculation that EU workers within the NHS would be sent home after March 2019.
He told Iain Dale: “The nurses we have from the EU do an absolutely fantastic job, if you’re listening the NHS would fall over without you.
“We really value your contribution, we are certain it will be able to continue and we want you to be part of our NHS family.”
This led the LBC presenter to ask: “Should EU nurses be prioritised to stay in the UK if there are NHS staffing shortages after Brexit?”
To which Mr Hunt responded: “We will always give priority to the health and social care sector in any debates we have on immigration policy because we want the NHS to be the safest and best health care system in the world.”