Forecasted levels of EU migration will place the Welsh NHS under huge strain in the coming years, according to Vote Leave campaigner David TC Davies MP.
It would mean that the Welsh NHS would require an additional £246 million per year by 2030 to maintain current funding levels.
Vote Leave has published new research highlighting the pressure the NHS will come under once new countries join the EU.
Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey – with a combined population of 88 million – are all in line to gain EU membership in the coming years. EU enlargement is an explicit policy of the European Commission, and is also supported by the British Government. Indeed the UK taxpayer is paying nearly £2 billion to help them join the EU. This could see the population of the UK increase by as much as 5 million by 2030.
Migration to Wales from the EU accounts for 2.5% of all EU migration to the UK, meaning that as many as 131,000 persons (net) could come to Wales from the EU between 2016 and 2030.
This is more than the entire population of the Vale of Glamorgan (126,000), roughly equivalent to the population of the entire county of Powys (132,000), and twice the population of Wrexham (66,000).
The forecasts calculate the impact that the accession of new member states will have on migration to the UK, and take into consideration the increase in the minimum wage in the UK over the period.
As well as requiring an additional £246 million a year to maintain current funding levels, the Welsh NHS would need to employ around 328 additional doctors in Wales just to maintain current staffing levels.
Monmouth MP, David Davies, said:
“The Welsh NHS is already facing the challenge of an ageing population, and scarce resources, but future migration will inevitably place huge additional pressures on investment and standards of care.
“Rather than sending money abroad to countries that want to join the EU I believe we should be spending our money on local priorities here in Wales, and across the UK.
“This is about the number of houses we have, the availability of school places and the capability of the Welsh NHS to absorb extra people
“With Turkey amongst the countries likely to join the EU in the coming years, net EU migration to Wales is set to reach astronomical levels – with more than the entire population of the Vale of Glamorgan set to come here by 2030.
“It’s unsustainable, and instead of giving an extra 88 million people access to the NHS I believe it would be safer to take back control of our borders and public services by voting to leave the EU.”