Portsmouth Labour MP hits out over £2m government levy to recruit specialist foreign workers at Queen Alexandra Hospital

A LABOUR MP has hit out at the government after figures revealed that the city’s NHS trust paid out the highest foreign recruitment levy across the country.

By Millie Salkeld
Wednesday, 26th August 2020, 6:14 pm
Updated Wednesday, 26th August 2020, 6:14 pm
Queen Alexandra Hospital
Queen Alexandra Hospital

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan thinks Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust (PHU) has been ‘disproportionately’ affected by the Immigration Skills Charge as the trust has paid out more than £2m since 2017 to hire specialist foreign workers.

Figures, from a Labour Party information request, showed the 52 NHS trusts, which responded, paid out more than £15m under the charge.

Mr Morgan said: ‘The fact Portsmouth has been worst hit shows that time after time our community is forced to disproportionately bear the brunt of regressive, costly Tory policy.

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NHS trust running Queen Alexandra Hospital spends £2m on foreign recruitment le...

‘Our NHS staff have shown unprecedented heroism amid this pandemic, putting others before themselves and selflessly working for our community.

‘Through regular meetings with PHU, I know their ingenuity has allowed them to have one of the lowest vacancy rates in the country. It is wholly unjust that their reward for demonstrating such robust planning is disproportionately high staff charges.’

The full breakdown of the charges to PHU show in the financial year of 2017/18 the trust paid £306,000 and each year since has risen, with £655,000 in 2018/19 and £972,000 in 2019/20.

So far this year they have spent £74,000.

Figures also showed in 2019/2020 Solent NHS Trust forked out £5,000.

Mr Morgan added: ‘While Ministers clap for health workers each evening on their doorsteps, behind closed doors they have been charging NHS trusts millions simply for employing much needed foreign staff.

‘This is punishing our NHS for government’s failure to properly recruit.’

The city MP also stated that despite the additional charges faced by the Portsmouth Hospital Trust, he has no doubt that that they will ‘continue to excel in serving the needs of patients’.

Shadow Immigration Minister, Holly Lynch MP said: ‘Local NHS trusts require specialists from overseas, yet the Tories are punishing hospital budgets for their own failure to train enough skilled staff.

‘The Conservative Government should be doing all they can to support the NHS. Instead, they are presenting trusts with an unenviable choice: either leave life-saving specialist roles unfilled, or fork out expensive fees for overseas staff.’

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