Immigration and the NHS

2015 - 2016
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This project investigates the effects of immigration on the provision of services in the NHS. The project puts emphasis on two areas:
1) The impact of immigration on waiting times for Accidents and Emergency (A&E), elective care and outpatients’ services.
2) The impact of immigration on maternity care.

Legal residents of the UK, including non-UK nationals, have free access to the NHS. This free access has resulted in speculation that immigrants may increase the demand for NHS services disproportionately. Immigration has no impact on the “price” of NHS services (i.e. free). However, the arrival of immigrants combined with the fact that the supply of NHS services is mostly inelastic in the short-run, suggests that immigration may increase waiting times and/or affect the quality of services. On the other hand, if immigrants are healthier and/or less likely to seek care, then waiting times may decrease even if the supply of services does not adjust. Finally, immigration may also result in an increase of the supply of health care personnel, as many doctors and nurses come to the UK from overseas.

Principal Investigator

Carlos Vargas-Silva


Osea Giuntella
Catia Nicodemo


John Fell Fund