New Cross Hospital boss calls for doctors' visa rule change

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David Loughton says all New Cross Hospital's visa applications were turned down in December and January

A hospital boss has called for an urgent change to immigration rules so he can recruit "desperately-needed" doctors from outside the EU.

David Loughton, chief executive of New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton, said he cannot bring in new doctors because a limit on visas had been met.

He said all its applications for December and January were rejected.

The Home Office said when demand exceeded the visa limit, priority was given to those filling a shortage.

Mr Loughton says the hospital vetted and recruited candidates, but the tier-two visas were turned down because the national quota of 20,800 had been met.

There will be no more until the beginning of April, he said.

Mr Loughton has now enlisted the help of local MPs to lobby for changes.

He said: "I don't think there should be a quota, we desperately need to get these people in."

'Training shortfall'

He says there is a national shortage of NHS staff and the health service will need another 190,000 by 2021.

Despite more students entering medicine, Mr Loughton said there had been a shortfall in the number of doctors being trained for a decade.

"There is 2,000 more medical students being put in the system but that is going to take, probably, seven years to get the doctors we want and in terms of consultants and GPs that is a 12, 13 to 14-year journey," he said.

Mr Loughton said the MPs he had spoken to have written to the Home Secretary and were hoping to get an adjournment debate in Parliament.