James O’Brien: Politicians ‘can’t admit’ NHS crisis because it would reveal Brexit failure
13 January 2023, 13:31
The consequences of leaving the European Union have impacted the NHS workforce and politicians are not willing to admit that, James O’Brien says.
After hearing from an earlier caller who said Brexit has impacted freedom of movement and contributed to the drop in NHS staffing levels, James O’Brien shared why this links to the government’s refusal to recognise that the NHS is in crisis.
In his monologue today, James said: “Our reaction is not on the right scale to the size of what we’re seeing- our reaction is not commensurate with the scale of what we’re seeing”.
He continued: “Why not? Partly perhaps because the politicians can’t tell us the truth.”
“Freedom of movement has taken a huge bite out of the workforce in the NHS; it must be a huge part of these huge vacancies. They can’t admit that.
“If they can’t admit that [then] they can’t properly describe the problems that the NHS is facing. If they can’t properly describe the problems that the NHS is facing, how the hell are they ever going to fix them?” he finished.
According to an analysis from the Nuffield Trust think tank last year, the UK would have had around 4000 more doctors from the EU, had it not been for Brexit slowing down their recruitment.
Analysis from the Nursing and Midwifery Council also shows that if pre-Brexit trends had continued, the UK would have also had about 58,000 more nurses.
These figures highlight the pressure of staffing levels within the NHS – part of the reason why nurses initially planned to strike up until May, and junior doctors will strike for 72 hours if they vote to do so.