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Neither Brexit nor the EU can fix the NHS

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The EU provides 4% of nurses The EU cannot continue to provide the NHS with nurse and doctors

There are two groups of people enjoying the run-up to the EU referendum – masochists and fact checkers (more of them later). Even the politicians themselves look miserable: head teacher David Cameron grimacing at a class of unruly Tory backbenchers; Jeremy Corbyn’s arm-twisted ‘If I must…’ support for Remain; Nigel Farage nervously eyeing 24 June like a popular end-of-pier turn watching summer draw to an end.

But our collective weariness should not overlook that there are serious issues at stake: one of which is the NHS. Even setting aside one’s incredulity at UKIP’s conversion to the cause of socialised health care, Leave have chucked around some dubious claims here, on the cost of health tourism and a dividend of £350million that they claim could be spent on the NHS.

This has led to sharp criticism from one of their more thoughtful supporters, Dr Sarah Wollaston MP. As she points out: ‘If you meet a migrant in the NHS they are more likely to be caring for you than ahead of you in the queue.’ Tireless fact-checkers Full Fact back this up, showing that the EU supplies the NHS with 4% of its nurses, a modest number perhaps, but it has risen sharply over the last few years to compensate for our homegrown shortages.

The Eurosceptic Dr Wollaston has been honest enough to write: ‘An increase in the percentage of our national income spent on health and care will save the NHS, not Brexit.’ It invites a similar admission from the Remainers, that we must do more at home to recruit and train nurses. We can’t always look to the EU to plug the gaps in our NHS.

Mike Shallcross, acting editor, Independent Nurse

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

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Comments

I have no trust whatsoever in politicians bankers or managers of big businesses. Those with money will always have an interest to protect their wealth. Those working in the Health Service in my opinion sees the service as infinite and an international one to be used and abused In fact we all have something in our lives which we hold steadfast and dear therefore not fully objective in our views on other matters even though such matters may indirectly affect our lives and interests.
I have my own views about the NHS having worked in it for almost 40 years and have seen the effects it has on users. Changes have to be made and are well overdue money being thrown at it will never be the answer
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I am a nurse with 32 years experience and what i'm saying will be controversial for sure. We need to stop nurse training bursaries. Sorry !I appreciate bursaries help with the cost of living especially when university work placements don't always allow for summer break jobs although i recall clearly training as a nurse and working in a shoe shop between shifts.The bursaries can be added to a training budget to be allocated to more university loans for the purpose of training more home grown nurses. The trainee nurses should still have government study fees like other degree students £9000 and government loans for accommodation etc (up to £8,000 per annum depending on university location)all paid back at a very low rate when they earn £21,000. Demand being as it is for qualified staff there will be a job/ career waiting for them. Lets train our own people to our standards including the reassuring words as advised by Ian Johnston -one of your readers, who by the way isn't a dinosaur it's refreshing to hear their are others like minded.. We wont need staff from other European countries and 'bank staff' wages will be a great saving which lets face it could be added to our staff getting a pay award worthy of the work they do further promoting the career in nursing. Just a thought !
Posted by: ,
Hi I will be nursing 40 years in September I'm a Senior Nurse Manager and am trying to work out an exit strategy as the pressures on Nurses be they frontline staff , middle mangement or senior has never been this intense. Much of this is down to targets , increased patient volumes , e systems and far to much paperwork. I see young nurses writing fantastic care plans and other risk assessment's however on many occasion's they never benefit the patient to the same degree that a touch on the shoulder a taking of the hand or a reassuring word can have. I'm seen as a dinosour by some of my colleagues but we need to support our staff not be continually applying pressure when they are their wit's end. The Goverments plan to remove Bursaries is for stuident nurses is ludicrous , when we already have a depleted nursing workforce this will obviously be worsened by the withdrawal of the bursary and will increase this countries reliance on overseas nurses . I agree we need more sensible policies by the goverment and more common sense at the NMC. t
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