Wes Streeting backs Keir Starmer over claims NHS is hiring too many foreign staff

7 November 2022, 19:47 | Updated: 7 November 2022, 20:28

Wes Streeting has backed Keir Starmer
Wes Streeting has backed Keir Starmer. Picture: Alamy/LBC

By Emma Soteriou

Wes Streeting has insisted that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is right in saying the NHS is hiring too many foreign members of staff.

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The Opposition leader came under fire last week after saying the focus should be on training more people in the UK and immigration was not the answer to the crisis in the NHS.

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting backed Sir Keir during LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr, saying the service had become over-reliant on overseas talent.

Asked how he felt when Sir Keir made the comments, Mr Streeting said: "Well, I think Keir's right.

The Andrew Marr show tonight
The Andrew Marr show tonight. Picture: LBC

"We've got a problem in this country where we have a big staffing crisis at the heart of the NHS - it is the central issue in terms of the challenge that the NHS faces.

"That's why Labour's put forward a plan for the biggest expansion of NHS staff in history.

"And because the government have failed to recruit homegrown talent, they are forced to over-rely on staff from overseas."

Wes Streeting and Sir Keir: NHS is hiring too many foreign staff

He added: "There's a general point here which is that the NHS has always been and will always be an international recruiter and employer and I think it's wonderful thing that we have in the NHS people from around the world that make such an enormous difference to patients but there is an over- reliance.

"This summer we turned away huge numbers of straight A students from university, provided 3,000 fewer medicine places than the year before in the middle of a staffing crisis and that's an absurd way to run a health service.

"That's what the Conservatives have been doing.

"Our plan would double the number of medicine places at university as well as providing an extra 10,000 nursing and midwifery clinical places, 5,000 more health visitors and double the number of district nurses and we paid for that by getting rid of the non-dom status so we've got a serious workforce plan that will deal with the fundamental problem."