A WAR of words has broken out between Bromsgrove’s Liberal Democrat candidate Dr David Nicholl and Conservative Sajid Javid over NHS staffing levels and the impact Brexit would have on them.
It comes after a Freedom of Information request by the Lib Dems showed since the referendum 320 EU staff members had left the two hospital trusts Dr Nicholl works for – University Hospitals Birmingham and Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust.
Dr Nicholl added 155 EU employees had left in this year alone across the two trusts, including 87 nurses and midwives.
“Nationwide more than 3,250 NHS staff from the EU have already left the health service this year, including 1,116 nurses.
“These departures are part of a worrying trend.
“These shocking figures reveal the damage Brexit has already done to the NHS in the West Midlands and it’s set to get worse under the Tories.”
He said doctors had approached him to help with his campaign, including a paediatric anaesthetist who had seen his department collapse due to the departure of German colleagues in the past two years.
The Standard contacted the Liberal Democrats, asking how many EU staff had joined the NHS and the two trusts in question between 2016 and 2019 to get a net EU employee figure in the two trusts and nationally.
We were told the party only requested the number of EU workers who had left the NHS and did not ask how many had arrived from European Union countries.
The figures for the Worcestershire Hospitals NHS Trust was not available.
In response Mr Javid said he would deliver record funding for the health service – an extra £34bn a year by 2023 which was the biggest funding boost in the NHS’ history.
“We’ll train more healthcare professionals here in the UK, with a manifesto commitment of a £5,000 to £8,000 annual grant for nursing students – helping to get 50,000 more nurses.
“We will ethically recruit more highly qualified nurses from overseas, offering NHS fast-track entry.
“We won’t just be recruiting from the EU – we’re attracting the best and brightest from around the world.
“Only the Conservatives can end the Brexit paralysis with a smooth deal, keep the economy strong and invest in the people’s priorities.”
- Mr Javid, Dr Nicholl, Labour’s Rory Shannon and Green Party candidate Kevin White will all face questions on the main issues at 3pm on Saturday, November 30, at the general election hustings at the Bromsgrove Baptist Church.