London party

Starmer: Immigration is not the solution to NHS challenges

Sir Keir Starmer has said immigration is not the answer to solving the challenges facing the NHS.

The Labor leader said his party would not support open borders and would instead back a “fair” points-based system.

He denounced the crises facing the health sector, accusing the British government of “short-term solutions” and putting “plasters on the problems”.

Speaking on BBC Scotland’s Sunday programme, Sir Keir was asked what numbers he would like to cut immigration to.

He said: “What I would like to see is that the numbers go down in some areas.

“I think we recruit too many people from abroad, for example in health services, but on the other hand, if we need highly qualified people in innovation and technology to create factories, etc. ., so I would encourage that, so I don’t think there’s an overall number here, some areas will have to go down, some will have to go up.

At the party conference in Liverpool last month, he expressed his desire to train and recruit 7,500 NHS staff across the UK.

The Labor leader was challenged over the workforce crisis facing the NHS, with hospitals struggling to recruit and wait times hitting record highs.

He replied: “We certainly need to increase those numbers across the UK, those numbers can and I think they should increase, and we need places funded to increase them.

“But, of course, one of the reasons the NHS is in trouble is because it’s such hard work. The conditions are so difficult because the NHS is exhausted. »

Sir Keir, whose wife works in the NHS, said he had daily conversations about understaffing and the challenges it has on the healthcare sector.

He added: “We should train people in this country, of course we need immigration, but we have to train people in this country.

“What we have done – it is absolutely classic of this Conservative government – ​​is short term fixes, plasters on the problems, never a long term solution and we go around in circles, every year we have a winter crisis .”

He said record waiting times in Scottish hospitals should be pinned to “every noticeboard across Scotland”.

“It’s completely unacceptable,” he said.