Jeremy Hunt has refused to answer a question concerning the status of NHS staff after Brexit
The Health Secretary dodged a question by health committee member Ben Bradshaw in the Commons today by talking about the numbers of EU doctors in the NHS instead.
Mr Bradshaw, Labour MP for Exeter, asked Mr Hunt if he would help to ease the NHS staffing crisis in the short term by guaranteeing all EU doctors and staff could remain in the EU after Britain leaves the bloc.
Mr Hunt told the Commons: “The one simple thing we’re not going to do on this side of the house is refuse to listen to what the British people said when they voted on June 23.
“We will do what they said, it’s the right thing to do.
“But he’s absolutely right to highlight the vital role our EU doctors – around 10,000 doctors in the NHS – do in this country.
The Health Secretary dodged a question by health committee member Ben Bradshaw in the Commons
“But I can reassure him that the number of doctors joining the NHS from the EU was higher in the four months following the referendum result than the same four months the previous year.”
Overseas workers form a crucial part of our NHS
Department for Health
Mr Hunt’s answer was met with jeers and when asked by Express.co.uk to answer Mr Bradshaw’s question, his team said the Health Secretary could not provide any commentary on Brexit negotiations before they start.
A Channel 4 Dispatches survey found up to 25,000 foreign NHS workers may leave their posts after Brexit happens – which could be as early as March 29, 2019.
NHS Trusts across the country have warned they could be facing even further shortages than they already are when the UK leaves the bloc.
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Theresa May announced Article 50 will be triggered next week on March 29 Corbyn confronts May over the NHS crisis Wed, February 22, 2017
Jeremy Corbyn kicked off the clash with questions over the NHS during Prime Minister's Questions.
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Talks between the NHS and the Government have been ongoing since Britain voted to leave the EU, with doctors hoping the health secretary will be pushing for the best deal possible to maintain the status of the tens of thousands of EU staff the NHS relies on.
Mr Bradshaw’s question came the day after Theresa May announced Article 50 will be triggered next week on March 29.
Earlier this month Mr Hunt announced plans to change junior doctors' contracts
This will set off two years of negotiations in which the status of EU nationals will feature heavily.
Earlier this month, Mr Hunt announced plans which would see junior doctors working for the NHS for at least five years or pay back their training costs which amount to £230,000.
A Department for Health spokeswoman, said: "As the Secretary of State has repeatedly made clear, overseas workers form a crucial part of our NHS and we value their contribution immensely.