Westmonster, a Brexit-supporting website, published an article that blamed mass immigration for the fact that an 85-year-old man died in hospital due to ‘dangerous overcrowding’. Leave.EU, one of the most influential pro-Brexit campaign groups, retweeted the story and likewise decided to scapegoat immigrants.
Mass immigration is totally unsustainable and places an unacceptable burden on our public services. Now an 85-year-old man has died waiting in A&E because of 'dangerous overcrowding'.
When will politicians wake up to the human cost of our open borders?https://t.co/FYzI7NpS1l
— LEAVE.EU 🇬🇧 (@LeaveEUOfficial) March 10, 2018
Immigrants blamed for stretched services
Millionaire Arron Banks co-founded Leave.EU. He reportedly gave the campaign group “the biggest donation in British political history” in the run-up to the Brexit vote. The Electoral Commission is now investigating him over whether he broke campaign finance rules in his donations to pro-Leave organisations. Banks has given millions to UKIP, and also set up Westmonster – which describes itself as “pro-Brexit, pro-Farage, pro-Trump”.
Many Twitter users were outraged that Leave.EU and Westmonster were exploiting the death of an old man in order to push their agenda.
No shame in using someone death to peddle xenophobic agendas. 🙄
— Nick Ferran (@NickFerran) March 10, 2018
There is no mass migration.
Our borders are not open.
Stop exploiting others tragedies for your own dubious political ends.
Tory underfunding of the NHS is the reason behind these problems
It will get worse if we leave the EU and the economy crashes
— The Malcontent. 🇪🇺🇬🇧#ABTV NOJC4PM (@johnleremainer) March 10, 2018
In the Westmonster piece, it reads:
The population rose by 538,000 in the year ending June 2016, 62% of that was down to migration. Unless this government can regain control of borders, UK infrastructure will continue to crumble.
Others on Twitter pointed out how immigrants form the backbone of the NHS.
This is patently nonsense. The NHS is staffed by an inordinately disproportionate number of immigrants. Without them the NHS would collapse
— Stephen has never (@SteBobRoughley) March 10, 2018
Overcrowding in hospitals is not caused by immigrants. They are the desperately needed staff who come to help run our hospitals. Do not listen to leave propaganda. These workers taxes help to run our country. We do not have enough workers.
— Pam C #FBPE #A50challenge #NHSLove#SMR (@onlyconnect71) March 10, 2018
Have you been to a hospital recently? I have, lots. At least 50% of the excellent staff who have looked after me have been EU immigrants. And the govt's figures show clearly that post referendum more are leaving than coming, so the is NHS understaffed. This will get worse.
— Peter Gray (@PeterTAGray) March 11, 2018
NHS Digital previously highlighted that nearly 10,000 EU NHS staff had quit following the Brexit vote.
Instead of seeing mass immigration as the reason for NHS failings, scores of Twitter users said underfunding was the problem. As a case in point, Germany has more immigration than the UK, but more doctors per 1,000 people. And the same disparity holds for nurses too, as the UK has 7.9 per 1,000 people, while Germany has 13.3.
It is Tory underfunding, not the EU. Germany has more immigration from outside the EU and from within, but Germany has 4.1 doctors per 1000 people, UK 2.8; Germany has 13.3 nurses; UK 7,9.
— Alessandra Asteriti (@AlessandraAster) March 10, 2018
According to the article, the hospital said there had been a 30% increase in admissions since this time last year. There has not been a 30% increase in population in one year. So more likely the cause of overcrowding in the #NHS is underfunding and understaffing.
— Peter Golton (@petergolton) March 10, 2018
This is dangerously wrong. Immigrants pay more into public services thru tax then they take out. Don’t let the government off the hook by blaming the problems in the NHS on immigration rather than underfunding and understaffing which is entirely the government’s fault
— Rod Kelly (@rodkelly50) March 10, 2018
As The Canary has consistently reported, the NHS is facing a funding crisis. But Leave.EU and Westmonster are ignoring how a dangerous lack of resources and staff are putting the health and lives of elderly people at risk.
Rather than face the facts, they have chosen to peddle myths and xenophobia instead. It’s reassuring to see so many people calling out these dodgy tactics.
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Featured image via Flickr