Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Train More British Nurses Instead of Importing Foreign Staff Says UK Prime Minister As International Recruits Ease NHS Staffing Crisis

Marking 100 days since the Conservatives won the General Election, the UK Prime Minister David Cameron was interviewed by Justin Webb for BBC Radio 4 this week. One of the questions he was asked was how he felt about the rising number of non-EU nurses coming to work in the UK to cover staff shortages in the NHS.

The RCN nursing union estimates that there are 20,000 nurse job vacancies in the NHS and warns of a staffing crisis as thousands of nurses retire in the next few years.

 Mr Cameron said we should be providing more nursing training for our own UK citizens for healthcare jobs that are currently growing within the economy.

Specifically on international nurses, Cameron added that the international nurses coming to work in the UK make a huge contribution to the country and the NHS, but called for better at workforce planning.

Knowing how many NHS nurses are needed, Cameron wants to encourage more young people to take nursing degrees at UK universities and promised help to provide the training places to meet the unmet demand.

In the meantime, thousands of job vacancies and shifts are being filled by expensive agency staff, which is why NHS hospitals are flying teams of managers all over the world to recruit international nurses. To add to their pressure, the government has also told NHS bosses to cut back on the millions spent on agency nurses.

Commenting on UK migration levels he stated that immigration controls go hand-in-hand with controlling the welfare system.

New immigration laws coming into force will mean that by April 2017 up to 30,000 non-EU nurses on Tier 2 Work Permits will have to leave the UK if they are not earning more that £35,000 per year. A Band 5 NHS nurse earns £25,000-£26,000, but could top this up with agency temping work.

Ironically, British trained nurses can easily earn well over £35,000 pa by taking up nurse jobs in America or Australia, prompting many of our best nurses to leave the UK each year, which only adds to the staffing time bomb in the NHS.

Bearing in mind that there are not enough places on nursing degree courses at British universities to meet current demands, and that it takes 3-4 years to train a nurse, it will be interesting to see how the NHS copes with UK nursing shortages over the next couple of years.

International nurses who want to work in the UK as a nurse should check the NMC (Nursing and Midwifery Council) website for the requirements, such as an overall band score of 7.00 in the English language IELTS test, and new competency tests. Last year the NMC changed the old ONP scheme to a two stage test, which many nurses are failing.

For full details on the new registration process and working in the UK for non-EU trained nurses or midwives, visit the NMC website, or email me your CV if you are interested in migrating to the UK and working as a nurse or need a Tier 2 Work Permit and Home Office working visa sponsorship for a UK job in the NHS.

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