This week, after years of campaigning by Lincolnshire MPs, the government has announced the creation of a medical school for Lincolnshire at the University of Lincoln.
This is a very positive step because, for the first time, it offers us the prospect of “growing our own” doctors to meet the county’s needs.
The difficulty of recruiting and retaining key staff causes huge problems in our local NHS.
The closure of Grantham A&E at night is rooted in a failure to recruit an adequate number of middle grade doctors across the United Lincolnshire Hospitals Trust.
When we have a steady stream of young doctors completing their training in Lincoln and putting down roots in the county, we should find it easier to fill posts with young professionals who live locally.
This will improve the quality of care and help us save some of the money wasted on expensive agency staff.
We need to adopt the approach of “growing our own” more widely.
I have lost count of the number of factories, food processors, farmers and care managers who have told me how they have become totally reliant on hard-working Latvians and Lithuanians, Filipinos and Poles to keep their operations running smoothly.
This is not sustainable.
It robs those countries of some of their most motivated young people and it suppresses the wages of young Brits who compete for this kind of work.
Although unemployment is very low, there are still large numbers of people of working age who are ‘economically inactive’ because of disabilities, caring responsibilities and other circumstances.
After we leave the European Union, we must invest in developing the skills of all our people.
We need to encourage young people who don’t want to go to university to take apprenticeships.
And we need to help older people who want to change jobs, or go back to work after a career break, retrain and acquire the skills to equip them for decently paid work.
Then we won’t need to rely on so many people moving here from Eastern Europe and further afield.