Responding to the increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge announced yesterday as part of the Government's pay offer, BMA chair of council Prof Philip Banfield said:
“The proposed increase in the charges on migrant health workers to pay for the Government’s already-compromised pay deal is frankly shameful.
“The Immigration Health Surcharge is an additional punitive tax on much needed overseas colleagues. The NHS should be funded from general taxation, not charges that unfairly target individual groups - that’s why we called for abolishing this tax completely.
“Claiming to use it to fund an inadequate pay offer is especially insulting. The Government are pitting the public against each other, targeting one group to fund below-inflation offers for another when this country needs them desperately to help get the NHS back on its feet.
“This tax discriminates against immigrants by charging them upfront fees in the thousands along with months of additional bureaucracy and hoops to jump through. For medical colleagues wanting to be joined by family members in the UK this can be prohibitive, losing their skills to the NHS entirely.
“Even the pay review body admits that in an international market we want to be incentivising doctors to stay in the UK – and the Government is supposed to be accepting their advice. This is self-defeating at a time the NHS is struggling with its workforce crisis. The overt contradiction here is that Government risks depriving the NHS of much-needed staff with the very same pay settlement they say is about retaining them.
“I’m afraid that doctors won’t stand by while the Government scapegoats immigrants for their own mismanagement of the NHS. We will continue to demand they come to the table with a responsible, credible pay offer – not one funded by divisive theatrical tricks like this.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.