Editorial

The NHS won’t cope without non-EU nurses

It was good to see so many Filipino nurses standing up for themselves and protesting outside the Daily Mail offices after the newspaper’s blatantly racist reporting following the Victorino Chua murders. Calling for a halt to the recruitment of all nurses from the Philippines because of the terrible actions of one individual is ridiculous. It is also a hugely unfair slur that plants doubt in the minds of patients.

It was good to see so many Filipino nurses standing up for themselves and protesting outside the Daily Mail offices after the newspaper’s blatantly racist reporting following the Victorino Chua murders. Calling for a halt to the recruitment of all nurses from the Philippines because of the terrible actions of one individual is ridiculous. It is also a hugely unfair slur that plants doubt in the minds of patients.

Filipino nurses have always had a good reputation and have made a huge contribution to our health service over the years. But, along with other overseas nurses, they must be feeling beleaguered at the moment. Not only are they facing a backlash from the Chua case, but next year many face deportation.

Does the Home Office talk to the Department of Health? It doesn’t appear so

In 2016 new rules will mean anyone from outside the European Economic Area who has been here for more than five years but earns less than £35,000 a year will be sent home. Even a band 7 sister with five years’ experience only earns £34,876, so the new rules will effectively mean an end to non-European overseas nurses making a life for themselves in the UK. This just doesn’t make sense given our current staffing shortages, and in fact many trusts are continuing to actively recruit from countries such as the Philippines and India to plug the gaps here.

As we report this week, the new immigration rules are set to trigger a crisis. Care homes will be unable to find enough staff, causing a knock-on effect in the NHS, with more delayed discharges and greater numbers ending up in A&E. This begs the question ‘does the Home Office talk to the Department of Health?’. It doesn’t appear so and it is about time they did.

Nursing must be made an exemption under the new rules and an announcement to that effect needs to be made quickly – before Filipino, Indian and other non-EU nurses start packing their bags and taking their much-needed skills to a more welcoming country.

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