NHS ‘sticking plaster’ will not solve underlying recruitment problems – Starmer

Another sticking plaster on the NHS crisis will not solve the underlying workforce issues, Sir Keir Starmer has said.

The Labour leader has previously faced scrutiny for saying he believes the health service is recruiting too many overseas workers.

During a visit to Glasgow on Friday, Sir Keir said more medical students must be trained to combat the issues.

The NHS in England has a record high number of vacancies, with more than 133,000 full-time posts unfilled at the end of September.

The health service faces a winter crisis across the UK, with A&E waiting times at record highs.

Keir Starmer in Glasgow
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer joined his Scottish counterpart Anas Sarwar in Glasgow on Friday (Jane Barlow/PA)

When asked if his stance on migrant workers in the NHS would make his Scottish counterpart Anas Sarwar’s job tougher due to their differing positions, Sir Keir said: “As far as the NHS is concerned, there is a real problem with the workforce.

“We do not have enough staff in the NHS. My wife works in the NHS, so I know first-hand.

“What Labour is saying is that we’ve got to find a way past this, and that means training more medical students.

“We want to double the number of medical students that are coming in to be trained year-on-year, double the number of nurses and district nurses, etc. That is the only way through this.

“The idea of putting yet another sticking plaster on the problem of the NHS isn’t going to solve the underlying problem.”

Sir Keir said the proposals would be funded by removing the non-domiciled status in the UK.

The status is given to a person who is considered by law to have their permanent home in another country – and subsequently they do not pay tax on their offshore income.

“That should be costed by getting rid of the non-dom status which simply allows very wealthy people to avoid paying their taxes in this country,” Sir Keir said.

“I say nurses, not non-doms.”