In the run-up to the EU referendum, the Leave campaign repeatedly made the case that EU migration was detrimental to the NHS. Michael Gove argued that increased migration in the future would put unsustainable pressure on A&E units, while Boris Johnson said that Brexit would reduce waiting times for emergency appointments.
But a viral Facebook photo has revealed the positive impact of immigration on the NHS.
The picture, taken at Homerton University Hospital in east London, shows a British Pakistani consultant urologist, an Irish radiographer, a German consultant anaesthetist, a Greek urology specialist registrar, and three Spanish scrub nurses.
“‘We are Europe!’” wrote Junaid Masood, the British urologist who shared the photo on Facebook. “Today we have been hard at work improving people’s lives! This is what our friends from Europe do for the NHS”.
Junaid is encouraging British people to share the image as “a great example of how we can work together rather than be divided”.
Spanish nurse Marina Seminario, 26 (second from right), moved to the UK three years ago after graduating from university, the Mirror reports. “The British NHS is the best in the world at so many things, especially opportunity for people like me who came to care for people,” she says.
“If I was to move back to Spain the NHS and the people I work with are the people I would miss the most.”
A spokesman for Homerton Hospital told the Mirror: “This is a fantastic example of our NHS, cohesive and inclusive, working together every single day.”
Just under a quarter (24%) of doctors in the English NHS were foreign nationals in 2015, according to independent fact-checking organisation Full Fact. Without the support of immigrant doctors, the British Medical Association has said that many NHS services would struggle to provide effective care to patients.