In a joint report presented last year by Health Foundation, King’s Fund, and Nuffield Trust, it was reported that the current workforce gap poses as a threat to the life and growth of the health services at NHS.
Presently, of every eleven clinical positions in NHS, one is vacant hence arising to one vacant post in every eight nursing posts. According to the report, it is estimated that if no strategic actions are taken, the existing issue of insufficient employees in NHS which is already about 100,000 staff short will rise to 250,000 in the year 2030.
Various institutions including the Royal College of Physicians and the NHS Providers have proffered solutions to the urgent problem. All the solutions that have been presented to boil down to getting more staff and looking into/providing proper welfare maintenance for the staff to encourage them to remain in the workforce.
Obviously, it will not be a day’s job to get them done so what actions can be implemented currently?
Immigrants: The Real Deal for NHS
In a staff statistics for the NHS, it is shown that over 144,000 of all the staff in NHS, which is just about 12.7% of all the staff are not British citizens. Also, over 5.7% of all the staff, which is about 67,000 of them, are non-UK EU citizens. The above data is a pointer to why the NHS is facing its current issue. In some other regions and organizations, the number of Immigrant workers is far higher than what is available in the NHS, and most of them are not even comparably outstanding.
Clinical workers from other countries who wish to work in NHS mostly get frustrated by the task procedures of professional regulations and registrations by the Immigration bureaucracy. In the 2nd Tier Visa Rule, new arrivals are expected to earn a yearly minimum wage of £30,000, which is equivalent to $37,900 or €33,400. This rule also applies to EU citizens, and it disqualifies prospective applicants.
The entire process of applying for a visa costs the applicants and the Employers and is given at a yearly estimate of £490m Post Brexit. Although the home secretary had announced in 2018 that there would be flexibility in visa restrictions if the person involved is medical personnel, he later said that it was only a temporary action.
In the December edition of Tier 2 white paper, the number of immigrants intake was extensively deliberated on, but the yearly minimum wage of £30,000 which has effectively hindered many able workers from getting into the country was ignored.
It is true that the UK should not colonize the majority of skilled workers coming from developing countries to train here. Certain schemes have been put in place to solve that issue. For instance, the Medical Training Initiative demands that all doctors must return to their home country after 24 months of training and working at the NHS.
NHS realizes Net Exit
Although Brexit has not yet been implemented, the situation at NHS spells out the discomfort of foreign clinicians who were trained in EU and their uncertainty as to what lies ahead for them. There has been a resulting, drastic drop in the number of nurses from EU registering to practice in NHS. It has resulted in a net exit of trained clinicians from the NHS for the first time in 20 years.
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