How our NHS depends on hard-working immigrants from 202 countries

Diversity in the NHS has been revealed by figures which show one in every eight staff members in the NHS is foreign.

The figures reveal the health service’s huge reliance on doctors, nurses, cleaners and porters from other nations.

Staff of 202 different nationalities make up the NHS workforce.

Of the 1.2 million staff, 976,288 are British which equates to 87.5% of the workforce.

That leaves 137,000, or 12.5%, of foreign nationality, made up of 62,000 EU nationals and 75,000 from the rest of the world.

Indian, Philippine and Irish are the most common non-British nationalities, followed by Polish, Spanish, and Portuguese

The numbers were revealed in a briefing paper by the House of Commons Library.

In 2015/16, 11% of those joining the NHS were EU nationals.

In 2016/17, this fell to 9%, and in the year ending September 2017 the figure was 8.4%.

For nurses the percentage of EU joiners fell from 19% in 2015/16 to 12.4% in 2016/17, then further to 9.6% in the year ending September 2017.

There have been fears of an NHS staffing crisis following the vote to leave the EU as the numbers of European nurses registering to work in the UK plunged.

But, according to the report "the percentage of EU staff has changed little since the EU referendum ".

However it does make clear that EU staff as a percentage of all NHS joiners fell in 2016/17.

Some 36% of doctors gained their medical qualification outside the UK, half of whom qualified in Asia.

74% of doctors in hospital and community health services (HCHS) are British.

This is lower than other NHS staff categories. 12% (13,265) doctors report an Asian nationality, of which 2/3 are Indian or Pakistani.

10% (10,599) of doctors report an EU nationality other than British, with Irish people making up one-fifth of this number. Most are from countries that joined the EU before 2004.

There are 3,238 doctors with an African nationality. The highest ‘Other’ nationality is Australian, with 345.

The NHS Providers organisation, which represents hospitals and ambulance trusts, told the Daily Mail a failure to train enough doctors and nurses lay behind the reliance on foreign staff.


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