Welsh NHS Trusts are facing problems recruiting doctors because of new immigration rules.
There are up to 25 per cent vacancies in some key specialities with some Trusts having an over-reliance on locum or agency doctors. Nearly 200 vacancies have been identified at just four of the NHS Trusts in Wales.
I wrote to the Minister after some hospital services were temporarily withdrawn last Christmas. The responses I've had back show that the trusts rely heavily on medical staff from outside the EU - in Gwent its 43%. It's ironic that reactionary calls to curb immigration have led to a situation where we could end up losing valuable NHS services.
Over the long term, a strategy is required to ensure that the NHS is not so reliant on expertise from overseas. Many of our doctors come from developing countries – countries which need doctors in many ways more than we do. But in the short-term, the rules should be relaxed to enable more trained doctors from overseas to work in the NHS.
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