Please STOP using the NHS as a political football - both sides !

(28 Posts)
throckenholt Fri 20-May-16 16:26:43

It is driving me nuts. angry

Gove claiming EU immigrants would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS (surely if they are coming here to work then they will be paying taxes and NI?, and even if they aren't they will be paying VAT - all of which fund the NHS (along with everything else)). They also seem to be implying that if we didn't pay whatever (disputed) massive amount the EU, then we could spend it all on the NHS (as if that would really happen).

An out voter on the radio today was saying we need to stop all these (EU) immigrants because they are using up our NHS, and pensions, and houses and the rest (vague), and we need to keep it for us.

And the remain side are somehow claiming (for no explained reason) that the EU is good for the NHS (as quoted by Cathy Warwick Royal College of Midwives). At the same tiem an "Official Treasury report" claimes leaving the EU would mean "£36 billion in govt spending cuts - meaning less money for the NHS".

As far as I can see - the NHS is a massive employer of EU nationals (and non-EU nationals). If we sent them all home we would be in real trouble. And I don't see why EU nationals living in the UK are any more likely to be using the NHS - most of the pressure is coming from our own home grown elderly population. If all our expat pensioners come back and start using the NHS that would add even more pressure (and they wouldn't be contributing much in taxes either).

BOTH sides are using the very emotive subject of the NHS and trying to make it a major decision maker for people on how to vote in the referendum. The NHS is dear to most people's hearts, but it really isn't a major issue as to whether we should or shouldn't be part of the EU.

grrrrr <rant over>

BritBrit Fri 20-May-16 18:20:31

The leave campaign are right on the NHS, immigration has had a very bad effect on the NHS. Of course most immigrants work but most are on minimum wage so contribute little tax & even take money from the state because of in work benefits & tax credits.

Another issue is because EU immigration is unlimited you can't effectively plan ahead because you have no idea how many people are coming next year. There are also other issues such as immigrants in the UK using the European health card (not an EU device as it includes non EU nations) to pay for treatment in their own home countries

Regarding your point on spending the money we save from leaving around £350 million a week I think most government would spend at least part of it on the NHS & it would be a big election issue on where they money would now going

throckenholt Fri 20-May-16 18:38:07

immigration has had a very bad effect on the NHS

What is the evidence of this ? There has been a rice in demand that has coincided with an increased immigrant population, but it has also coincided with an increase in the aged population and a decrease in budgets to local authorities who pay for social care for elderly at home. Where is the evidence that the extra demand is from immigration ?

As for more money to spend on home things - the out campaign seems to tell farmers, fishermen, NHS etc they will get a lot more. There is no evidence that this would actually happen though. And presumably there are (deprived) areas in the UK which would lose EU funding who would also want their aid maintained.

I want to see real evidence of these sound bites (on both sides) rather than just assertions one way or the other. I had the same response to the Scottish referendum - little evidence just assertions of what it would be like (choose whichever flavour you prefer).

But most of all I am sick of hearing the NHS bandied about for political benefit.

BritBrit Fri 20-May-16 18:46:28

throckenholt the out campaign are telling voters we can spend money on a range of area because we pay billions into the EU, for every £1 the EU give us we have already paid in £2 so we can quit the EU pay for everything they give us money for e.g. farming/science & have double left to spend on other area

SpringingIntoAction Fri 20-May-16 19:20:58

Gove claiming EU immigrants would put unsustainable pressure on the NHS (surely if they are coming here to work then they will be paying taxes and NI?, and even if they aren't they will be paying VAT - all of which fund the NHS (along with everything else)).

^^That drives me nuts.

You think a hospital can be magic-ed up at hardly any notice in response to the arrival of an unplanned number of migrants from the EU?

Hospitals take years (10 years in the case of our local hospital) to plan and build.

It wouldn't matter if the migrants paid 6 x the tax they currently pay - their mere presence here using facilities that were planned a decade ago for a smaller population will place a pressure on the NHS and it is disingenuous to try to claim otherwise.

throckenholt Fri 20-May-16 20:04:57

I would like to see the evidence of how much NHS resources (im)migrants use. Most of them are presumably healthy working people (who tend not to use the NHS all that much).

One thing we could (and have been predicting) for a long time is the increasing aged population who use a large proportion of NHS services. Is it possible the increased pressure is coming from that rather than an (unplanned) migrant population ? A quick google came up with The number of people aged 65 and over is projected to increase from 10.84m in 2012 to 17.79m by 2037. As part of this growth, the number of over-85s is estimated to more than double from 1.44 million in 2012 to 3.64 million by 2037. (http://www.nhsconfed.org/resources/key-statistics-on-the-nhs)

SpringingIntoAction Fri 20-May-16 20:53:32

I would like to see the evidence of how much NHS resources (im)migrants use. Most of them are presumably healthy working people (who tend not to use the NHS all that much).

EU migrants on the whole do tend to make use of the NHS but those who stay and have families in the UK do increase the pressure. There has been publicity about the increase in maternity provision that has been needed.

One thing we could (and have been predicting) for a long time is the increasing aged population who use a large proportion of NHS services. Is it possible the increased pressure is coming from that rather than an (unplanned) migrant population ? A quick google came up with The number of people aged 65 and over is projected to increase from 10.84m in 2012 to 17.79m by 2037. As part of this growth, the number of over-85s is estimated to more than double from 1.44 million in 2012 to 3.64 million by 2037. (http://www.nhsconfed.org/resources/key-statistics-on-the-nhs)

The pro-EU campaigners who have their heads in the sand and think all our public services are elastic try to claim that the current problems are all to do with an increasingly elderly population - but occasionally a health care trust will tell the truth (as one did this morning on Radio 5) that the NHS pressure comes from an increase in population as a whole.

Of course you won't find any studies that will confirm that and the NHS are not going to give you a comprehensive breakdown of serivce users that may show an increased use of the NHS by EU migrants as that nice Mr Cameron and the EU who funds most of this pro-EU research all want the UK to remain in the EU - the pressure on the NHS does not help that case

Limer Sat 21-May-16 00:42:51

Surely we need to think ahead on this one. Importing thousands upon thousands of people now - they'll reproduce, age, put pressure on the NHS and then in fifty years' time they'll be old - what then? It's an unsustainable Ponzi scheme.

Don't forget that the statistics are flawed - a migrant is classed as a resident once they've been here for 5 years. So in all the studies, the pressures from migrants vs residents classifies all the migrants who arrived prior to 2011, and their children, in the 'residents' column.

And don't forget that the statistics are doubly flawed - the number of NI numbers issued to EU migrants was three times the official government figures for actual EU migrants. So all the data needs recalculating on that basis.

throckenholt Sat 21-May-16 07:20:04

the number of NI numbers issued to EU migrants was three times the official government figures for actual EU migrants. So all the data needs recalculating on that basis.

Doesn't that suggest that 2/3 of the EU migrants are actually only here temporarily - they come, work for a period, and then move on to another country or go back home. Much like many UK people who temporarily work in other EU countries.

I think there is a big problem of lots of misunderstood statistics being bandied about, and used to "prove" whatever either side wants to prove.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Sat 21-May-16 07:22:34

Yabu.

It's quite simple; the nhs will always be a political football. Referendum or not.

WhirlwindHugs Sat 21-May-16 07:25:46

Yanbu!

Limer Sat 21-May-16 08:59:18

Doesn't that suggest that 2/3 of the EU migrants are actually only here temporarily - they come, work for a period, and then move on to another country or go back home. Much like many UK people who temporarily work in other EU countries.

It might do - but even those that go home are replaced by others coming here. The numbers certainly aren't dropping.

MrsBlackthorn Sat 21-May-16 10:04:26

But they're coming here as healthy people who pay tax and on the whole don't use the NHS. Two thirds leave again within a few years, during which time few will take out more from the NHS than they pay in taxes - and most doing quite the opposite.

Fewer working-age people paying tax means we'll have more people taking out than paying in (eg the elderly).

Moreover, how many EU migrants work in hospitals? How would we manage without them?

MrsBlackthorn Sat 21-May-16 10:05:22

It's worth noting that midwives, nurses and doctor's unions have all come out in favour of Remain.

Limer Sat 21-May-16 10:57:33

Moreover, how many EU migrants work in hospitals? How would we manage without them?

We wouldn't need to manage without them. We could introduce a skills-based immigration policy, like many other non-EU countries have.

MrsBlackthorn Sat 21-May-16 12:04:20

A great many of the jobs in hospitals are unskilled; exactly the sort of people who would not be admitted under a skils-based system.

MrsBlackthorn Sat 21-May-16 12:11:59

Here's a full briefing from the TUC. www.tuc.org.uk/industrial-issues/public-sector/all-together-nhs/international-issues/nhs-how-brexit-could-affect

My Canadian friend has to pay £2000 a year to get her Tier 2 skilled migrant visa (in IT).

NHS wages are poor compared to elsewhere; why would a nurse or doctor choose to go through a skilled migrant process and pay thousands for the privilege when they can go anywhere else in Europe without that hassle? If a nurse or doctor is prepared to go through the cost and admin process, they might as well do that to go to the US, where they get paid twice as much.

Limer Sat 21-May-16 12:51:32

All valid points MrsBlackthorn

If the UK could control EU migration (in whatever way it chooses, bringing in certain skills/unskilled/whatever) surely this would be better overall? Attract the highly skilled professionals, bring in unskilled if necessary, issue work visas for seasonal fruit-pickers, etc.

MedSchoolRat Sat 21-May-16 12:55:01

Applause 4 what Mrs.Blackthorn wrote.

Adults age 50-60-70+ are the biggest users of NHS resources (by a hefty margin).

Immigrant mothers are over-represented among women giving birth, because the avg person native-UK born is age 45+ & the avg EU immigrant a lot younger. If those babies weren't born here, we'd have to import them to be working adults to pay the pensions of those of us who will retire in 20-35 yrs.

Importing skilled medical people from SriLanka-Philipines-Vietnam-Nigeria is BAD: it brain drains vulnerable countries.

Population distribution in UK.

SpringingIntoAction Sat 21-May-16 18:59:58

A great many of the jobs in hospitals are unskilled; exactly the sort of people who would not be admitted under a skils-based system

Then we should be making the ordinarily resident British 1 million unemployed take these jobs instead of allowing them to sit on benefits while we import unskilled foreign m=labour

lljkk Sat 21-May-16 19:01:14

How can you make unwilling people do a decent job at work? confused

SpringingIntoAction Sat 21-May-16 19:47:24

How can you make unwilling people do a decent job at work?

You seem to suggest that working for a living is some sort of lifestyle choice.

lljkk Sat 21-May-16 21:08:20

Ill people using NHS deserve a decent level of service. Health professionals also deserve colleagues (porters, cleaners, assistants, admin bots) who like their job and want to do their best.

Workfare might be fine for litter picking or painting fences.

SpringingIntoAction Sat 21-May-16 21:27:38

*Workfare might be fine for litter picking or painting fences

So working for a living is optional then?

MrsBlackthorn Sun 22-May-16 11:13:59

As in any areas, there's an uneven distribution between where people are and where jobs are. In London low paid jobs, like cleaning and care, are filled by immigrants because they have lower costs - they're more likely to be childless, to live in house shares.

If we can no longer get staff from
Europe to work in hospitals, we won't easily be able to replace them with former steelworkers from Wales - the labour market simply isn't that flexible.

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