I have been contacted by constituents with concerns about ensuring that the NHS has the staff it needs once we have left the European Union.
First of all I would like to pay tribute to the tireless work that our doctors and nurses perform, not least the role of those doctors and nurses who have come from overseas to provide us all with our world-leading National Health Service.
I completely understand concerns regarding the impact of our withdrawal from the EU on foreign nationals working in the NHS. That is why I welcome the Government's repeated commitment that all EU nationals working in the UK will be able to remain in the country with the same rights as they enjoy today.
EU citizens’ rights have been secured in UK law under the new settled status scheme, covered by the Withdrawal Agreement. This will ensure that EU nationals can continue to perform their vital roles across a range of sectors, in particular the health and care sector.
In addition, all doctors and nurses have been exempt from the Tier 2 visa cap since July 2018. This means that doctors and nurses can be sponsored without putting pressure on the entire immigration system, freeing up space for other highly skilled occupations such as engineers, IT professionals and teachers who make such an important contribution to our economy and the prosperity of the country.
The latest NHS workforce statistics show that, far from the referendum result encouraging EU nationals working in the NHS to leave our country, there are over 4,300 more EU nationals working in the NHS than there were in June 2016. In addition, the proportion of our NHS workforce made up by EU nationals has risen to 5.6 per cent, up from 3.1 per cent in 2010.