From the Mail:
MAKING OF A BREXIT LIE
It’s an alarming refrain constantly repeated by Remainers, the BBC and the Guardian: that the Brexit vote has caused a staffing crisis in an NHS heavily reliant on EU workers. One problem – the story’s utter hokum, as this forensic investigation proves
Daily Mail 11 Nov 2017 by Ross Clark
WHO could not be worried by the news that the number of EU doctors and nurses working in Britain has plummeted over the past year?
Of all the developments attributed to Brexit, few have more power to scare the public than the idea that the NHS is crumbling for want of medical staff who have been put off coming to work in Britain because they no longer feel welcome here.
For the fact is that our National Health Service is very dependent on foreignborn staff. According to figures from the House of Commons Library, around 62,000 people from the rest of the EU work in the NHS in England alone. No wonder the fear of them leaving as a direct effect of Brexit is so potent.
Radio Four’s flagship news programme, Today, nine days ago led with the news that there has been a ‘drop of nearly 90 per cent’ in EU nurses registering to work in Britain over the past year.
Listeners were left in no doubt as to the reason: Brexit.
‘I think there is absolute lack of clarity for those colleagues of ours who are giving so much to our NHS, working in our nursing homes, working with our families, that they are welcome, that they are going to be allowed to stay,’ Janet Davies, of the Royal College of Nursing, told the programme.
The story was followed up by the Victoria Derbyshire show on BBC2, which claimed that the latest figures ‘add to previous evidence pointing to a significant reduction in the number of EU nurses wanting to work in the UK’. Derbyshire interviewed Stephanie Aiken, also from the Royal College of Nursing, who made the further claim that ‘we’ve lost more than 9,000 EU nurses this year’.
the programme, a producer sent out an appeal on Twitter for a nurse who was thinking of leaving the country to contribute to the broadcast.
In the event, a male Polish nurse who had been working in Britain for 17 years made it on to the airwaves. Though he was worried what would happen to his employment status, he said that he wanted to stay here.
The ‘nurses quit the NHS because of Brexit’ story has been given much play all year.
‘EU nurses no longer want to work in Britain. Brexit is poisoning the EU,’ ran the headline on an article by Suzanne Moore in the Guardian in March. The claim was based on a report from the Nursing and Midwifery Council on a decline in the number of EU nurses registering to work here, a similar set of statistics to the more recent figures that the Today programme used as the basis for its report last week.
In September, the Guardian returned to the theme with a news story which declared ‘Almost 10,000 EU health workers have quit NHS since Brexit vote’ — based on statistics from NHS digital, the agency that collects health service data.
The report added: ‘The British Medical Association said the findings mirrored its own research, which found that four in ten EU doctors were considering leaving, with a further 25 per cent unsure about what to do since the referendum.’
Lib Dem leader Sir Vince Cable latched on to this scare story, telling viewers on BBC1’s Question Time: ‘Ten thousand people have already walked away from the National Health Service because they don’t think they’re needed or wanted any more. That’s the frightening thing.’
Labour’s health spokesman, Jonathan Ashworth, has also claimed that Brexit has slashed NHS recruitment, saying in June: ‘Our health service has always relied on the contribution of overseas workers, yet these staff are being forced out by this Government’s neglect and disregard.’
Yet it simply isn’t true that Brexit has caused a staffing crisis in the health service. This is all a big lie which the
Remain lobby keeps repeating as part of its propaganda campaign against Brexit.
Contrary to what these doomladen reports imply, the NHS’s statistics show that the overall number of EU citizens working in the health service has actually grown since the Brexit vote.
The Guardian and Cable were technically correct in saying that 10,000 EU citizens have left the NHS since the Brexit vote.
The health service’s figures show that, between June 2016 and June 2017, a total of 9,832 EU citizens left jobs with NHS trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups in England ( because health is a devolved issue, statistics are collected separately for the rest of the UK).
But this completely ignores the other side of the equation and therefore is deeply misleading.
While they were happy to quote the number of EU staff leaving, they failed to mention the number of EU staff who joined the NHS.
Perhaps that’s because, during the same period, health service statistics show that 13,013 EU citizens took up jobs in the NHS.
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.
FURTHERMORE, official figures show that in most areas of the NHS, since the Brexit vote, more staff from across the Channel are working in our health service.
The number of EU citizens working as NHS doctors rose from 9,695 to 10,136 — a net gain of 441. The number of consultants increased from 3,747 to 4,080 — a net rise of 333. The number of EU midwives grew from 1,220 to 1,247 — an extra 27. Ambulance staff numbers rose by 136, from 250 to 386. Scientific, therapeutic and technical staff increased by 841, from 6,112 to 6,953.
What’s more, Theresa may has done everything she can to reas- sure EU citizens that they will be able to stay in Britain after Brexit.
For example, just last month she wrote an open letter reassuring them that securing their continued residency rights ‘remains a priority’.
The idea that EU doctors and nurses are so worried about Brexit that they are fleeing elsewhere is utter nonsense, and it is shamefully wrong for the Remain lobby to keep scaring people by trying to convince them that it is true.
It is true that there was a modest drop in the number of EU citizens working as nurses in the NHS — down from 20,907 to 20,618, a net fall of 289.
However, with more than 20,000 EU nurses employed in the NHS, this amounts to a fall of less than 2 per cent.
The ‘90 per cent’ drop reported by the BBC’s Today programme came from a set of statistics from the Nursing and midwifery Council, which is responsible for registering nurses and midwives as fit to work in Britain.
The figures do not relate to the number of people actually taking up employment. They refer, instead, merely to the number of foreign nurses completing the process of registering to work in the UK.
Between September 2015 and 2016, 10,178 nurses and midwives from other European Economic Area countries (which means the EU along with Norway and Iceland) registered to work in Britain. over the following year, to September 2017, the number fell to 1,107 — as reported, a fall of nearly 90 per cent.
But that didn’t mean the BBC was being straight with listeners. Blaming the decline in registered nurses on Britain voting to leave the EU is a misrepresentation of the facts which ignores a very important factor that has nothing to do with Brexit.
From January 2016, overseas nurses wanting to register to practise here have had to take the International English Language Test System (IELTS), and to achieve level 7 — the proficiency of a ‘good’ English user — in each of four elements: reading, writing, speaking and listening.
It is of course right to ensure that nurses speak good English if they are to work in British hospitals — the consequences of even basic misunderstandings can be deadly.
Yet in the tough written tests in particular, nurses were expected to reach the same standards as graduates applying to take higher degrees at our leading universities and were asked to write academic essays on topics that had nothing to do with nursing or even healthcare.
In one case, the assignment centred on the changing number of Japanese tourists visiting parts of Britain.
These tests, which require a level of knowledge far beyond that which nurses require to do their jobs safely, set an impossibly high bar.
Eighty per cent of applicants put forward for the test by one recruitment firm failed to reach the required standard. Even native English speakers from countries such as Australia failed.
If these English speakers couldn’t pass, is it any wonder nurses from Spain or Estonia struggled?
ON NOVEMBER 1, the day before the scaremongering report on the Today programme linked nurse shortages to Brexit, the Nursing and midwifery Council relaxed the language tests in order to bring them more in line with the vocational versions used in places such as Australia and Canada. Yet not a word of this made it into the Today report, which blamed nursing shortages on Brexit alone.
The reality is that EU nurses are still keen to come and work here.
According to HCL Workforce Solutions, which recruits foreign nurses for the NHS, the number of applications it received from nurses in other EU countries has actually gone up since the Brexit vote, from 1,629 in the 12 months to June 2016 to 1,886 in the year to June 2017.
The main reason dedicated foreign nurses are not able to take jobs in the NHS is the rigorous language test, which the vast majority of them failed.
All of this hard data comprehensively disproves the claims made by the BBC, the Guardian, the Lib Dems, Labour and others that Brexit — which, of course, hasn’t even happened yet — is causing an NHS staffing crisis.
How many times have we heard the Remain lobby whining that the British electorate were duped into voting for Brexit by the ‘lies’ of the Leave campaign? Yet at the same time it keeps repeating a blatant lie about the NHS haemorrhaging staff due to nurses and other personnel supposedly being frightened away.
This is a disgraceful attempt to scare the public in the forlorn hope of overthrowing the result of the EU referendum. We had Project Fear before the vote — now we are witnessing Project Fear II.