LETTER: NHS - Surveys mean very little

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I’m baffled by Mr Bostin’s latest anti-Brexit comments (Postbag, November 9).

Unless I’m mistaken, he told Postbag a while ago that he’d voted Labour at the last election, despite knowing the party would respect the pro-Brexit referendum vote.

He’d get more credit if he’d stuck to his principles and voted for the hopeless, but Remainer, Lib Dems. Had he and the other Remainer millions done so, little Timmy Farron might be prime minister now and we’d be staying in the EU.

Now, Mr Bostin asks what the Brexiteers are going to do about a survey that says nurses from other EU countries plan to leave the NHS in droves after Brexit Day.

This survey result was big news at the leftist and remainer Guardian and BBC, but surveys of future intentions mean very little. The NHS’s own figures, based on real life, show that in the year from June 2016, 9,832 EU citizens left jobs with England’s NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups, but 13,013 EU citizens joined up. So it was a net increase. True, the number of EU nurses fell – but only by two per cent – and that’s probably because of the absurdly stringent new English tests. Apart from that, the numbers of EU consultants, doctors, midwives, ambulance staff and therapeutic staff in the NHS all went up in that time.

Mr Bostin says Theresa May needs to give EU citizens full rights in this country after Brexit Day. Agreed, but why should we concede that without getting something back, namely equivalent rights for UK citizens in the EU? It’s called negotiation, and the EU has been playing such hardball with us that we have to hang tough. If the EU keeps threatening punishments, issuing ultimatums and begging for more money, we have to be willing to walk away – no trade deal, no transitional arrangements and no more billions from us to keep them in long lunches. Nothing so concentrates the minds of lawyers and civil servants than a real deadline, which should be March 2019. Otherwise, they’ll spin out the process, charging fees and expenses as hard as they can, until we’re all sick of it.

Martin Cutts

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