NHS would be in trouble without migrant workers

Joseph Millis
The NHS would be “in dire straits” without migrant workers, one of the UK’s senior economists claimed yesterday.

Office for Budget Responsibility board member Stephen Nickell told the Treasury Select Committee that 35 per cent of health professionals came from outside the UK.

When asked whether imm­igra­tion had a positive or negative impact on the economy, Nickell replied: “There’s not a lot not it.”

He continued: “The general consensus is that for the native population, the existing population, immigration may be a little bit good, it may be a little bit bad economically. But there isn’t overall that much in it. Obviously, there are special situations like in the health service, for example – some 35 per cent of health professionals are migrants.

“It’s quite plain that, if they weren’t there, the health service would be in absolutely dire straits.”

Nickell said it was all a question of space. “The urbanised part of Britain occupies less than 10 per cent of the surface area. The urbanised part of Surrey occupies less of Surrey than golf courses. So in some senses, [there’s] plenty of space.” he said.

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