Responding to the Conservative Party manifesto commitment to 50,000 more nurses, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Social Care Luciana Berger said:
"It is dishonest to promise there will be more nurses under Boris Johnson’s Conservatives. Our NHS has been consistently hit by the Conservatives’ NHS and social care cuts, putting the lives of loved ones right across the country at risk.
"It is insulting to the public and all those who work in the NHS for Boris Johnson to celebrate the return of nurse bursaries. It was the Tories who scrapped them in the first place.
"What the Tories have actually promised at this election is to tax our nurses. By extending the Immigration health surcharge and immigration visa fee to EU health professionals, more and more of EU nurses will see little reason to stay here in the UK. Our NHS currently relies on 20,000 EU nurses, 10,000 EU doctors, and we’ve already lost more than 5,000 EU nurses in the last 2 years.
"A Liberal Democrat government will introduce a national NHS recruitment strategy and ring-fence £7 billion a year through putting a penny on the pound on income tax. Only the Liberal Democrats will stop Brexit and build a brighter future for our NHS and those who work in it."
- The Health Immigration surcharge is currently £400, which is for every year of a visa – 5 year visa equals £2000 for Health surcharge https://www.gov.uk/healthcare-immigration-application/how-much-pay
- Under the Conservatives’ plan to raise it to £625, for a family of 4, living in the UK for 5 years, the health surcharge would be £12,500.
- For a nurse working in the NHS, paying this back under the Conservatives scheme, over 5 years would cost £2,500 from their yearly wage (cost for a family of 4).
- The one-off Immigration visa fee is currently £928 – this would be halved under NHS scheme so the fee is £464.
- For EU nurses, and other health professionals, who do not currently pay the health surcharge or visa fees, the Conservatives scheme to extend the visa fees to EU workers in addition to the new health surcharge, would mean an EU nurse will now have to pay £1,089 to work in the NHS for the first year and £3,589 for five years.
If an EU nurse came with their family (family of 4), they will now have to pay £1,856 as an upfront one-off cost in visa fees and £12,500 in Health surcharge for 5 year visa. That is an overall additional cost of £14,356 total.