24 Mar 2016

NHS fuelling immigration?

A report out today accuses Health ministers and NHS chiefs of fuelling migration numbers by employing nurses on the cheap from outside the EU to meet annual shortages.

The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) recommends a limit of 5,000 a year and an end to health bosses using foreign employment as a “get out of jail” card.


It finds that 20 per cent of 630,000 qualified nurses in UK are from overseas and are paid on average £6000 less than UK nursing staff.

Nursing shortages in UK are at 9 per cent with some NHS trusts in London as high as 18 per cent.

MAC’s chair Sir David Metcalfe says the blame lies on the health sector itself and the shortage is linked to cuts in training places.

He says nursing will be put on the UK “shortage occupation list” but with great reluctance because it will crowd out other occupations.

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6 reader comments

  1. Ms Drew Porter says:

    I want to be able to be part of a globally fair, efficient, effective and reliable system, responsible for the equal distribution of wealth; that determines through intelligent debate and intelligence which parts of our globe need what to eliminate poverty, with healthcare available per se for each human being. There is no reason our collective well-intentioned, inclusive, conscientious efforts to identify and address the real issues that actually matter, like improving the quality of life on a global scale. Peace is the future every humble, disempowered, almost each and every one of us, really wants.
    Here’s where we are right now; wars maiming and killing people, weapons of mass destruction being used, torture going on, millions of innocent lives lived in utter turmoil for millions of people spanning across generations.
    Poverty – millions starving across the world, particularly Africa. Millions of people dying in poverty in Asia and Africa; people in our own country “living” on the streets. Let’s face it, times are hard for plenty.
    Here’s the problem – the system we have does not allow me to help where it’s needed. The system doesn’t prioritise my needs, it decides, in London, sitting in luxury, mostly “men” who all went to Eton College, luxury, all by themselves what is important. One of them once, didn’t even know how much a pint of milk was, that’s how similar his life is to ours eh? Basically, the best chance I have of lobbying my MP is to raise it on my behalf in The House of Commons. Then they can all “ooo” and “aaaa” “order order” what the…..? As if that’s gonna help! Honestly, you’d think, given we have technology now and things, it’d be so simple to set up a system that we all paid into and got lots out of, instead of the other way around. I wanna vote online for an agenda. Then I wanna have a separate vote online for the people who are going to be responsible for particular aspects of the process of creating, implementing, assessing systems which would be economically viable.

  2. Alan says:

    When ministers are tasked with profitability, seemingly illogical corporate demands, agendas to which they haven’t the full picture, what can be expected? A ruthless hierarchical model in turn prevents any skill apart from securing ones own future. The blame game goes on and on even as we understand why. Answers should be sought from those ‘paid’ to pull the wool over our eyes.

  3. Irene says:

    Nursing shortage has been an issue for all previous governments. There has always been an official shortage list over the years, nothing new. The problem is the recruitment of foreign nurses, contradicts the rhetoric on immigration. This means most governments avoid to own up to the fact that they continue to rely on foreign nurses. Most universities have always had a large percentage of foreign students including Irish students studying for nursing since funding was open for foreign students, which is no longer the case. The situation will get worse with the announcement to get rid of the bursaries altogether and allow nursing students to access loans like every other university. There is a serious shortage of teachers and social workers again, the government is not owning up to the fact that a number of school and local authorities are relying on foreign professionals either recruiting directly from overseas or through recruitment agencies. The professions are all very demanding and do not pay that much, so there is no incentive for local people to join these professions. In education the kids have become so unruly in some schools that most teachers feel they are riot police and not teachers who deserve some respect from the kids they teach. This is exacerbated by the government which continues to interfere in education and the professional has become too stressful for most teachers with too many targets and changes. What then happens is that those trained seek better pay and conditions in other countries resulting in a brain drain. Managing workforce development in the public sector should never be mixed with politics.

  4. Andrew Dundas says:

    What a co-incidence!
    When Conservatives were in office in the 1990s, hospitals couldn’t recruit enough nurses. Training posts for nurses had been cut back. Agency nurses were brought in at high cost to deal with emergencies. Which depleted hospitals funds. The following government restored nurse training and added to their capabilities.
    Now we have another Conservative government and, once again, nurse training has been curtailed by ‘hospital trusts’ as they’ve struggled to find cash to treat patients.
    Moreover, doctors are up-in-arms because a Conservative Minister can’t understand why stretching doctors to full-time work over seven days would mean them working for longer without compensation.
    It’s all because the Conservatives “don’t get it” about the NHS.
    As our neighbours say so eloquently: Plus ça change, plus c’est la meme chose

  5. neil says:

    one might also suggest that the NHS is further fuelling Immigration based on the benefits it bestows on anyone that presents at a UK Airport or Hospital. The NHS stating that they are not going to check passports or chase cash from Health Tourists compounds the issue and is a dereliction of duty on their part.

    No wonder the NHS is so indebted and close to bankruptcy. More feckless managers than front line staff; are we surprised no not in the slightest

  6. Jack says:

    Strikes by doctors. Nursing/doctor shortages, NHS struggling???
    And NHS is sourcing nurses???
    If we can`t “manage” immigration already, and the NHS IS short of nurses??? Just what is the problem with the NHS trying to recruit them abroad?
    NHS short of nurses, NHS tries to source nurses from “abroad”
    Why is Ch 4 getting irate about this story??

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