The chair of a Bromley-based NHS trust has called for foreign doctors, nurses and paramedics fighting coronavirus to be granted UK citizenship.

Sir Norman Lamb, chair of South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, made the point in response to the Government's announcement that NHS workers with visas due to expire before October 1 would be extended for a year free of charge so they can continue working in the country.

The former Liberal Democrat spokesperson for health said the extension, which applies to around 2,800 migrant health professionals, does not go far enough.

Sir Norman tweeted: "I think what they meant to say was: when all this is over, we will give all those NHS foreign doctors, nurses and paramedics citizenship!"

Whilst the extension has been broadly welcomed, some have criticised the Government for failing to appreciate the contribution made by migrant workers at all times.

Writer Maya Goodfellow said: "The Tory immigration system: "Go Back Home" - after you've risked your lives to save 'ours'."

The changes will also apply to their family members.

Restrictions have also been lifted on how many hours international student doctors and nurses can work for the NHS per week, according to an announcement on Tuesday.

Deadlines for registered overseas nurses to pass skills tests will also be extended so they have more time to take exams while working on the front line.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: "Doctors, nurses and paramedics from all over the world are playing a leading role in the NHS's efforts to tackle coronavirus and save lives. We owe them a great deal of gratitude for all that they do.

"I don't want them distracted by the visa process.

"That is why I have automatically extended their visas - free of charge - for a further year."