Hospital nurses are being forced out of hotel rooms to make way for asylum seekers, we learned last night.
The Home Office has given overseas nurses studying for UK qualifications – to help ease NHS staffing pressures – less than a month to vacate their accommodation.
The move threatens to deepen the staffing crisis at the affected trust, with a senior executive warning it will put its hospitals in a “very vulnerable” position.
It comes as Home Secretary Suella Braverman yesterday signed a £63m deal with France in the latest bid to tackle the migrant crisis in the Channel. J
The settlement will see the UK taxpayer foot the bill for anti-trafficking measures on French shores, including UK Border Force officers being deployed alongside gendarmes for the first time as well as in French control centres. .
The number of constables patrolling beaches will increase by 40% over the next five months and British money will pay for more helicopters, drones and CCTV to spot migrants and facilitate interception.
Writing in the Mail, Ms Braverman today warns that the influx of migrants is putting ‘intolerable pressure’ on housing and public services in the UK.
And in a stark illustration of the Home Secretary’s warning, officials scouring the country for places to house thousands of migrants have block-booked two hotels in York used for foreign nurses while they prepare for exams.
Hospital nurses are being forced out of hotel rooms to make way for asylum seekers, we learned last night. Pictured: Migrants arrive in Dover last week
It comes as Home Secretary Suella Braverman yesterday signed a £63m deal with France in the latest bid to tackle the migrant crisis in the Channel. Pictured: Ms Braverman signs historic agreement with French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin
York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been forced to recruit from overseas due to a critical shortage of UK nurses and is paying for their accommodation while they take exams. There are currently 82 foreign nurses at a York hotel with another 17 next month.
- The new open-ended deal will see the UK hand over millions to France every year
- UK Border Force officials will act as ‘spotters’ on the teams alongside constables
- French beach patrol teams will increase by 40% within five months, bringing the number of gendarmes to 350
- A new task force will reverse the growing number of Albanian migrants crossing the English Channel
- There will be additional CCTV at “key border crossing points”, and more drones and sniffer dogs to locate migrants in vehicles
- More investment will be made in reception and removal centers to persuade migrants to return home voluntarily
- A joint intelligence cell will be expanded to fight human trafficking gangs
- More cooperation with other EU countries such as Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany
In September the trust, which runs two general hospitals, had 130 nursing vacancies and bosses hoped to reduce that figure to around 50 by December.
But hospital management have been stunned to discover their plan to fill a staffing gap could be derailed by asylum seekers arriving by boat from France.
It comes after this month’s Mail revealed that RNLI volunteers, training to rescue seafarers, had to leave a hotel on the Wirral halfway through their stay to make way for claimants of asylum.
Lee Anderson, Conservative MP for Ashfield and Eastwood, said: ‘Our Government and all of Parliament should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this to happen. Not only do we have rescue volunteers kicked out, but now it’s the turn of our NHS workers. Where will it stop?
Polly McMeekin, of the York and Scarborough trust, told a board meeting the trust had been given four weeks to vacate two hotels because the Home Office wanted to use them for ‘the next two years “.
She said the trust objected and then she had until December to vacate the rooms. “York is short on housing,” she said. ‘[This] leaves us with no other accommodation – we explored the army, we explored the universities.
The move would leave the hospital in a “very vulnerable” position, she added. “This is a vulnerability in our international recruiting pipeline.”
City Labor MP Rachael Maskell said last night that up to 450 asylum seekers are expected to be housed in York from next month. Commenting on the news nurses were being forced out of hotels, she said: ‘The whole situation is completely broken, that’s obvious.
The Home Office was contacted last night for comment.
Ms Braverman was in Paris early yesterday morning to sign the new contract with her French counterpart Gérald Darmanin.
The pact was greeted with caution by Tory MPs last night as the Home Secretary described it as a ‘big step forward’.
However, Downing Street confirmed the deal did not include any performance targets for the French, such as stopping a higher proportion of migrant boats.
Britain has already paid France £175m to police the Channel border since 2018, with the latest sum taking it to more than £230m.
York and Scarborough Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been forced to recruit from overseas due to a critical shortage of UK nurses and is paying for their accommodation while they take exams. Pictured: Scarborough Hospital, North Yorkshire
When Ms Braverman signed the deal, it emerged that more than 1,800 migrants arrived in the UK over the weekend, bringing the year-to-date total to 41,729, compared to 28,526 arrivals in the year last.
In the Commons yesterday, Sir Roger Gale, Tory MP for North Thanet, said the settlement was a ‘modest step towards solving a much bigger problem’.
And Tory Tim Loughton questioned whether the Home Office was ‘throwing good money after bad’.
The Interior Ministry failed to secure an agreement for the migrant boats to be turned back to France.
Yesterday’s deal didn’t change that, but the issue could be reopened in the future.
Rishi Sunak said the new deal was ‘just the start’, adding: ‘I’m confident we can bring the numbers down, but I also want to be honest with people that it’s not just one thing which will magically solve this. ‘
Additional reporting: James Franey, in Paris