A massive 14% of NHS staff say that their nationality is not British.
A potential new NHS chief has faced heavy criticism after pledging to make the health service less reliant on foreign workers.
It is reported that Baroness Dido Harding, former head of the heavily criticised Test and Trace programme and Conservative peer, has pledged to ensure the NHS would be less reliant on foreign doctors and nurses if she is appointed to the role of Chief Executive of the National Health Service (NHS).
Official figures suggest that a massive 14% of NHS staff say that their nationality is not British, with Indian, Filipino and Irish workers making up a large proportion of this number.
Other than the failed Test and Trace programme, Baroness Harding has no prior experience in healthcare and earned her reputation as the CEO of communications giant TalkTalk.
Baroness Harding has said she would stand down from the Conservative party if she was appointed to the role.
NHS workers have today hit back at the Baroness’s implication that the NHS would be better off being less reliant on a foreign workforce.
Retired nurse Zeba Arif, President of All Pakistan Nurses Association APNA-U, responded to Harding’s comments; “On behalf of overseas nurses who have contributed selflessly to the National Health Service, especially throughout the pandemic, I believe Baroness Harding’s statements of intent not only crass but downright disgraceful and deeply disrespectful.
“She appears to be inhabiting a parallel universe and seems sublimely unaware of the sacrifices ‘foreign’ healthcare professionals have had made just to be employed! To begin with, they (and their families) have to pay an immigration health surcharge fees of £470 per person per year.
“With nurse vacancies currently standing at 40,000 plus, this candidate’s words are extremely worrying for those of us engaged in campaigns for safe staffing levels.”
Nurses United UK, a grassroots campaigning group, claims that “greater investment in our schools, a living bursary, a substantial restorative pay rise” would be needed before the NHS could look towards a home-grown workforce.
Lead organiser Anthony Johnson said; “Dido Harding remains as incompetent as ever as she panders to her political party.”
“The UK has always benefitted from international staff. Whether it was Indian, Pakistani or Caribbean nurses like my grandma in the 50s and 60s, or our colleagues from Europe and the Philippines in more recent times, we needed them to keep our loved ones safe.
“The NHS would not exist without international staff and if Dido wants to grow homegrown staff, we would need greater investment in our schools, a living bursary, a substantial restorative pay rise and an end to the privatisation she has been a part of.”