If the NHS is to have enough nurses to provide high quality care it will have to recruit from overseas, which depends on the UK being an attractive proposition
With immigration and the NHS both set to take starring roles in the forthcoming general election, linking the two is a potent combination for politicians seeking support. The government has announced it will incentivise NHS trusts to recover the costs of treating non-EU migrants by allowing it to charge 150 per cent of the total.
Jeremy Hunt on Twitter made the scarcely credible claim that the move would generate “£500m a year” by the middle of the next parliament.
The announcement came in the same week that new guidance was issued on nurse staffing levels – adding more impetus to the drive to boost numbers. With UK nursing schools yet to generate enough graduates, many of these new recruits will come from overseas.
‘The UK must appear an attractive place for economically active healthcare staff from overseas to live as well as work’
One of the judgements these overseas recruits will make before getting on a plane is to consider what sort of life they and their families might enjoy in their new home. The UK will not be their only option – the US, for example, is hoovering up English speaking nurses from outside its borders.
If the NHS is to deliver high quality care, the UK must appear an attractive place for economically active healthcare staff from overseas to live as well as work. Politicians would do well to remember that.