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COVID-19: England’s chief nurse announces £28m fund to recruit overseas nurses

But ethics of recruiting from developing countries have been questioned
Nurses arriving in UK from India

But ethics of recruiting from developing countries have been questioned

Thousands of trained nurses from overseas are waiting to come to England, according to the countrys chief nursing officer Ruth May.

A total of 6,551 have already been recruited, a figure revealed as Ms May outlined the 28 million financial support available to nursing leaders to boost staff numbers, ahead of a second wave of COVID-19.

Funding for overseas nurses accommodation and quarantine

Thousands of nurses from across the globe had their plans to join the NHS derailed by coronavirus, but overseas nurses have now started to travel to the UK and take up positions in hospitals and other trusts, Ms May said.

This international recruitment fund will help NHS organisations pay for additional costs incurred because of coronavirus,

But ethics of recruiting from developing countries have been questioned

Nurses arriving in UK from India. Picture: Twitter

Thousands of trained nurses from overseas are waiting to come to England, according to the country’s chief nursing officer Ruth May.

A total of 6,551 have already been recruited, a figure revealed as Ms May outlined the £28 million financial support available to nursing leaders to boost staff numbers, ahead of a second wave of COVID-19.

Funding for overseas nurses’ accommodation and quarantine

‘Thousands of nurses from across the globe had their plans to join the NHS derailed by coronavirus, but overseas nurses have now started to travel to the UK and take up positions in hospitals and other trusts,’ Ms May said.

‘This international recruitment fund will help NHS organisations pay for additional costs incurred because of coronavirus, including accommodation, flights and quarantine.’

While the statement on the funding highlighted how the NHS adheres to the Code of Practice for International Recruitment, concerns have been raised in the past about the ethics of recruiting from developing countries.

For example, in recent weeks, dozens of nurses from India have arrived to work in the UK.

Nurse-to-patient ratios in India and England

According to a parliamentary report in June, 10,770 Indian nationals work as nurses or health visitors in England’s health service.

However, India trails behind the UK in terms of nurses per head of population, with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development recording India as having 1.5 nurses per 1,000 inhabitants in 2019, compared with 7.8 nurses in the UK.

India is also grappling with a more severe COVID-19 outbreak than in the UK, with nearly 5.5 million cases of the disease compared with nearly 400,000 in the UK, according to John Hopkins University.

NHS trusts urged to use nurses who signed up to temporary register

The NHS in England is not only looking overseas for more nurses, but locally too.

In a statement, NHS England said it is encouraging trusts to use the 6,000 nurses who have signed up to the COVID-19 temporary register and have completed pre-employment checks.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council recently released data from the temporary register, which indicated that just over one in three of the current 14,243 temporary registrants were highly likely to join the permanent register.

Susan Masters, Director of Nursing Policy and Public Affairs for the RCN, said: ‘We want the UK to be attractive to our international colleagues, who we value and can learn from.

‘However, we should not be over-reliant on international nursing staff as this is not sustainable. Any strategy for short-term international recruitment must be aligned with a strategy for longer term growth in the domestic nursing workforce.

‘It is essential that any reciprocal agreements between the UK and other countries are ethical and that the nursing profession in that country agrees with the approach being taken.’


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