How immigration saved a British institution

Chris Bowlby looks at the impact of immigration on Britain's health service

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All political parties are talking more openly about immigration than a few years ago, responding to what they see as public disquiet at the numbers settling in Britain, and their effect on employment and public services. “I believe controlling immigration and bringing it down is of vital importance to the future of our country” is how the prime minister put it in a major speech in April.

And yet the politicians also know that, without immigration, the British economy and society would have developed very differently. And there is one institution in Britain where immigration has made a profound difference – the health service. In the same speech in which he called for stricter immigration controls, Mr Cameron added: “Go into any hospital and you’ll find people from Uganda, India and Pakistan who are caring for our sick and vulnerable.”

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