Wales politics

Brexit negotiations 'danger' to NHS Wales recruitment

Sir Keir Starmer Image copyright Press Association

Conservative Brexit negotiations pose a "danger" to the "hugely successful" campaign to recruit more doctors and nurses in Wales, Labour has claimed.

Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir Starmer accused the Tories of using NHS staff as "bargaining chips", ahead of a campaign visit to Wales on Monday.

The Welsh Government has been offering financial incentives and stressing the quality of life in Wales.

The Tories said only they could secure funding for strong public services.

Last Tuesday, Welsh Health Secretary Vaughan Gething launched a major international campaign to attract nurses to Wales following a successful GP recruitment drive.

The campaign features nurses talking about their work and life in Wales, with bursaries worth up to £9,000 still available after being scrapped in England.

Sir Keir said a Labour UK government would immediately guarantee the legal status of all EU nationals in the UK.

"It is the right thing for us to do for the NHS and the right thing to do for the country," he added.

He said the Train, Work, Live campaign had "transformed GP recruitment in Wales, and will surely do the same for nursing."

"The schemes are attracting applicants from across the globe, with many from the EU.

"EU nationals do not just contribute to our society - they are our society," he said.

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A Tory spokesman said: "Only a vote for Theresa May and her Conservative team will deliver the strong and stable leadership to see us through Brexit and beyond, locking in our strong economy and the funding that secures strong public services.

"A vote for anyone else puts that at risk by putting Jeremy Corbyn a step closer to Downing Street."

Plaid Cymru said an "emboldened Tory government left unopposed by a weak and divided Labour Party" would "put the safety of patients at risk" by restricting the recruitment of doctors and nurses.

The Liberal Democrats and UKIP have been asked to comment.

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