We condemn Home Secretary Priti Patel’s decision not to scrap the NHS surcharge for overseas NHS and Care workers, which is set to rise to over £600 a year despite the fact that these ‘essential front-line, key’ workers pay the same tax and national insurance as anyone else doing their job.
DFNHS Chair, ophthalmic consultant surgeon Mr Colin Hutchinson, said:
‘Let me get this straight. We have a crisis in our health and care services. Before Covid we were already short of 100,000 NHS staff and 120,000 social care staff. We cut the training places for doctors and nurses in 2010, so we don’t have enough homegrown graduates and there is a global shortage of doctors, nurses and other health professionals. Most western countries are trying to attract trained workers to their shores, so what cunning plan do we have to entice them to consider the UK as the best place to live and work?
‘We already sting them for visa fees of £1220 for five years for every member of their family and £406 to register with the General Medical Council. In addition, every member of the family has to pay £400 a year healthcare surcharge, and these all have to be paid up front. Despite pleas, the Home Secretary is increasing the surcharge to £625 per year, for access to the very health and care services they have come to support.
‘Like every family, they will already be paying National Insurance, Income Tax, VAT and all the other taxes that go to fund the NHS and the care system, so why do we expect them to pay extra for access to the services they are helping to sustain? The surcharge needs to go, now.
‘The cost of coming to work in our health and care services is far greater than moving to Australia, Canada, France or Germany, all of which are fishing from the same pool, so why would anybody choose the UK. Ten out of ten for optimism, but minus five thousand for joined up thinking. Give them a clap.’