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NHS leaders call for reform of immigration policy
November 08, 2017
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LONDON: NHS leaders are calling on the government to reform immigration policy to make it easier to recruit doctors and nurses from overseas and fill significant gaps left by UK workforce shortages.

Staff shortages are the top concern for two thirds of chief executives and chairs of NHS trusts and foundation trusts, according to a survey by membership body, NHS Providers.

And 85 per cent expect overseas recruitment to be very or fairly important to keeping services running over the next three years.

To address this NHS Providers, which represents 98 per cent of NHS trusts, says the government must “urgently confirm the right to remain” of 60,000 EU staff in the NHS and set out how it will fund pay rises for staff now it has scrapped its public sector pay cap.

The “There for us: a better future for the NHS workforce” report adds the government should: “Commit to a future immigration policy supporting trusts to recruit and retain staff from around the world to fill posts that cannot be filled by the domestic workforce in the short to medium term.”

This should be backed by a Department of Health led “international recruitment programme” which trusts could pay to opt into rather than running individual recruitment schemes.

NHS England announced this year that it was massively expanding its international GP recruitment programme, from 500 GPs, to 2,000 to 3,000 by 2020, at a cost of £100m.

But this short-term intervention should be followed by transparent, long-term workforce planning goals to expand the domestic supply of doctors.

The Independent

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