While committed and highly trained British staff are being forced out of employment, and young trained British nurses are struggling to find work, some NHS trusts are advertising across the EU to recruit foreign nurses, writes UKIP MEP Derek Clark.
•It is extraordinary that British NHS trusts are recruiting abroad at a time when, according to the latest figures from the NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care, the number of nurses in the NHS has gone down by 3,500 in the previous year.
Stories abound of cuts and retrenchment across the NHS with wards and units being rationalised and nurses jobs being cut. As Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing has said, "These figures are yet further evidence of the rising scale of cuts to NHS jobs and services... despite the rhetoric, we know that frontline jobs are not being protected and NHS trusts must stop making cuts in a quick fix attempt to save money."
In light of the fact that committed and highly trained British staff are being forced out of employment, it is a disgrace to learn that some NHS trusts, including the Northampton Trust that is employing the Portuguese nurse Pedro Marques, are advertising on the Continent. That the Northampton trust is outsourcing its recruitment to an Irish firm, in order to recruit foreign nurses, would be richly comic if it didn't mean that British jobs were quite literally being given to foreign workers. It holds British nurses and their training in contempt.
But don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Pedro and his colleagues; after all, they are just trying to achieve a better life for themselves and their families. It is a tragedy that they have to leave the country that they love and it is a tragedy for Portugal that keen, hardworking and intelligent youngsters feel they have to look abroad to get a job. According to these reports, this amounts to thousands of young people who are looking to Britain to be their salvation. All very flattering I am sure, but also depressing to young trained British nurses who are struggling to find work.
This is undoubtedly because the Portuguese economy has been decimated by its membership of the Euro and through the range of austerity packages designed by Brussels that are barely keeping it on life support.
It seems that we are bailing out the Portuguese through our taxes and their people through our taxpayer funded jobs. David Cameron recently said we were not going to admit Greek people fleeing from their austerity. Can he tell us what the difference is between them and Portugal?