Be careful what you wish for…

Social media pic makes the point about immigration and the NHS


This is neither the time nor place to rake over the (horribly named) Brexit referendum or to discuss the wider implications of our collective decision as it unravels over the next few years and, no doubt, for many decades to come.

As with all such binary choices it will be good for some things and bad for others; but a simple photograph posted to social media by locum consultant urologist Junaid Masood does highlight a very important message about the possible effect on the NHS and the immediate problems it faces.

The pic is a straightforward group shot of a theatre team at Homerton University Hospital in East London and simply shows team members holding signs displaying their roles and countries of origin.

Of the seven people pictured Junaid is the only one who is British (he also highlights his Pakistani heritage) standing alongside three Spanish nurses, a Greek Urology specialist, an Irish radiologist and a German anaesthetist.

Recruitment levels for all roles within the NHS are struggling to meet the demand created by increasing need and the growing number of health professionals leaving the NHS to work for private health firms or who are retiring, many through stress and ill health.

Within our GP network an ageing general population is very much reflected by the number of GPs who have already passed or are fast approaching retirement age.

The NHS needs to ensure constant access to a pool of health professionals to fill this gap, whatever arrangements need to be made within or outside the EU to do so.

In the last week, rather overshadowed by other news stories, it was revealed that recruitment for GP training places in the North East of Britain fell short of its target by 47% for the 2016 intake.

This means that within the next three to four years, ignoring the existing hospital shortfalls and the pressures on GP’s we already have, there will be just over half the number of newly qualified GP’s available than NHS England has said are necessary to maintain the current service.

So we can’t wait for the great and the good to eventually make up their minds about what happens next in all this political turmoil.

Otherwise this picture could end up being a selfie.

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