Expert advice

Barriers to overseas nurses and the illusion of self-sufficiency

There is no immediate likelihood of the UK achieving self-sufficiency in nursing, while the approach to international nurses has become incoherent

There is no immediate likelihood of the UK achieving self-sufficiency in nursing, while the approach to international nurses has become incoherent

International nurses matter. About one in seven UK-based nurses was trained in another country.

Despite periodic statements by the government that overseas nurses are a short-term solution to NHS staffing problems, in reality they have been a major part of the NHS workforce for decades.

The recent reduction in the number of international nurses coming to the UK is much more serious than glib statements about the UK achieving nursing self-sufficiency would suggest.

In the current circumstances, this will not happen. Just look at the disparate and sometimes conflicting roles being played by different UK national bodies.

Plans and policies

First the Home Office, which is implementing an ever tighter immigration policy. As currently applied, this

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