GMB: Adil Ray and Edwina Currie clash over migrant workers
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Susanna Reid led the first debate on Good Morning Britain but when Adil Ray OBE had the chance to speak, he did not hold back – especially in retaliation to Edwina Currie’s opinon about foreign workers in the NHS. The former politician argued the UK was taking trained medical professionals from “much poorer countries” but the presenter argued as soon as someone starts working in the UK, they should be considered British, no matter where they were born and found her comments “disgusting”.
Adil began: “Why do we need more trained medical professionals from the UK than trained medical professionals from abroad? What’s the difference?”
She replied: “We do have more trained medical professionals from the UK, but the moment we have about 14-15 percent of people working in the NHS are born overseas and it’s about 28 percent of our doctors – it’s a lot.
“We are heavily dependant in people coming from overseas, and actually, the real problem is not where people come from, it’s we’re taking trained people from much poorer countries, like the Philippines, they are being trained by their own taxpayers and we pinch them!
“We persuade them to come here and we’re doing that because it’s cheaper for us.
“Seems to me a poorly form of colonialism and it’s not a good thing to do,” Edwina continued.
“We ought to be looking at how we use the staff we do train, why we aren’t able to employ as many of our own, doctors why people leave the NHS, whether we can patch up skills for people already working in the NHS, like going from nursing to being a nurse practitioner, there’s a whole host of issues there.
“But the way we’ve been doing it for years, but I don’t think it’s defensible, it’s not a good way of going about it,” she concluded.
Adil erupted: “I find it quite disgusting really, this is Britain! In the 1950s and 60s Britain had no choice but to ask doctors from Indian and Pakistan to come to this country to save the NHS.
“They stood up in Parliament and said the NHS would collapses, this is 1961, they stood in Parliament and said NHS would collapse if it wasn’t for migrant doctors.
“Those migrant doctors have held up this country, held up the NHS, 127,000 have died in the last year, many tens more thousand would’ve died if it wasn’t for migrant workers.
“They are British!” He ranted. “And as soon as somebody comes to this country to work here, they are British.
“This idea talking about ‘our own’, who are ‘own our?’ Was my father a migrant, was he ‘our own?’ We are all ‘our own!’
“I just don’t get this idea that suddenly the migrants who have been here for 50, 60 years and will continue to come here, aren’t British, they are ‘our own’ too!” Adil said.
Susanna added: “Some people were outraged, they thought it was an insult to this foreign-born, foreign-trained, medical professionals working here in the NHS.
“A sign of ingratitude to those who have been doing such an incredible job during coronavirus and the pandemic.
“But what do you make of what Edwina Currie says? That we are sort of taking away those critical workers from the countries where they’re also suffering?”
“I understand that,” Dr Saleyha Ahsan replied. “This is a controversial area.
“First of all, I have colleagues who have gained their medical degree from overseas and I’ve spoken to them since this report in the papers yesterday, and they are deeply hurt and they feel it’s a kick in the teeth, and yes a sense of ingratitude for the sacrifices, hard work and commitment that they have given to the NHS, not just in the last year but for the last few years and at great personal cost.
“Yes, this idea, this concept of the brain drain, it’s not as simple as that what happens when colleagues come from overseas, where they have trained, and often times to return home is an international collaboration.
“Collaboration happens between two countries, relationships are formed, there is cross-fertilisation of knowledge, people from over here go and work in other countries, for example, India, teaching.”
When Adil and Susanna were joined by the Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, Adil wanted to know his opinion on the matter: “Made me a little bit upset.”
“She made the point the NHS we’ve got to rely on domestic talent, but we also, as you know, we recruit from abroad as well, so it’s a balance,” the MP said.
“NHS has always relied on talented people from outside the UK, we’ve got to do a better job in recruiting, training and inspiring people in the UK so they can join a fabulous service.”
Good Morning Britain airs weekdays at 6am on ITV.
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