People are flooding into the UK

This is thread shared with permission from Dr Dominic Pimenta.

I don’t really know where to begin with this.
Shouting back and forth definitely isn’t working.
So why don’t we try something else. Kindness maybe?

This poor woman is clearly very angry, having been in hospital last week, perhaps she is dealing with some looming health issues for her and a loved one. Imagine being believing you could lose a loved one because of “foreigners”? /2
Now, it’s not true of course. As @AyoCaesar put it “facts don’t care about your feelings.”
– health tourism is about 0.1% of the NHS budget, we spend more on stationary
– the infrastructure to have “pay points” in all hospitals would likely cost more than that anyway /3
But what about her feelings?
This narrative is driven by feelings and bereft of facts, essentially a broth of headlines from newspapers and social media.
She feels under attack.
That’s fair enough- public services have been “attacked” by, austerity. Not people. /4
The services she is angry about: interpretation and signs in other languages- are to save money, so patients who need treatment understand it and don’t miss appointments (very costly) and have complications (very very costly). /5
As health professionals we need to treat the patient in front of us. It isn’t up to us what their level of English is. Or level of education either. These measures are tiny portions of the budget and save money. That’s why we do them. /6
This lady clearly feels their is a conspiracy against her. She shouts “rubbish”, when told simple facts:
– the old age dependency ratio is rising (due to a baby boom in 50s and drop in fertility in 70s)
– migrants are younger and more educated than the native population /7
She’s saying “rubbish” because she is thinking of anecdotal newspaper stories to the contrary, the singular examples that aren’t really news at all but serve to sell papers to this same narrative.
Like “Immigrant family on benefits has a million pound house”. /8
We have realised over time disease can be prevented by treating it as a public health issue, not a moral choice. The smoking ban, needle exchanges, alcohol caps. All serve to reduce disease.
Maybe we should think of this as a public health issue as well? /9
We live on an island, with strict non-EU visa requirements and the ability to deport EU immigrants without work. There has been no “flood”.
And yet that is what is the prevailing narrative, which never follows it through to its logical end. /10
How much would it cost to “close the borders”? That wouldn’t help this lady’s perceived problem of foreign languages in hospitals. So forcibly deport all immigrants then? How much would that cost? £trillions? /11
And how would you then fill that £trillion hole in the public purse? Not to mention the civil disobedience, perhaps even civil war over the attempt? Every public service you are talking about would be decimated. What would happen to your loved ones then?
And even if overnight all the “immigrants” could magically be “disappeared”, we don’t have enough people then, in fact we have 750,000 unfilled jobs right now. Underemployment. The newspapers so rarely mention it, don’t know why🤔
It isn’t this lady’s job to understand immigration facts, or infrastructure policy. We don’t know why she’s so angry, but to get on TV with a rant like that came from somewhere personal and we should respect that.
It IS the job of the politicians and journalists and newspapers to understand these things, AND TO COMMUNICATE THEM ACCURATELY.


This is where we have had abject failure in the last decade or so. 

If newspapers will say anything to get sold, and politicians will say and do anything to get elected, then the natural common denominator will always be the worst instincts in us, as these are the most universal and powerful.
imagine the issue was smoking, and we were trying to resolve it by shouting at people in the street smoking cigarettes.
How many would quit? How many would smoke more?
This is a public health issue and needs to be treated like that.
Thank You for coming to my TED talk. /end

Lots unpack here but I would absolutely encourage you to engage with your pupils around those ‘facts’.

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