Existing evidence shows that immigration makes a positive contribution to the UK health service Health Foundation statement on the impact of immigration on the NHS

14 November 2019

Following debate today on immigration and its potential impact on NHS staffing, funding and the performance, Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive of the Health Foundation, said:
‘Migrants are good for the NHS. Existing evidence shows that immigration makes a positive contribution to the UK health service. Migrants contribute through tax, tend to use fewer health services compared to others, and provide vital services through working in the NHS. 
‘Both the NHS and social care in England are suffering severe staffing shortages. The NHS currently has 100,000 vacancies, including a shortage of 40,000 nurses. The health service is struggling to train and recruit enough nurses from within the UK. It will continue to have a significant reliance on international recruitment for the near future to prevent further deterioration of services. A non-restrictive migration policy will be crucial in ensuring the numbers of doctors, nurses and social care workers are sufficient to provide high quality care.
‘Current declining NHS performance is a result of several factors, including rising demand due to an ageing population, mounting workforce pressures and inadequate investment. There is no evidence that migration has negatively impacted on the quality of NHS care.’

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The evidence

Existing evidence that immigration makes a positive contribution to the UK health service includes:


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