The UK may soon launch a new Visa allowing foreign doctors, nurses and other health professionals to work in the NHS.
Helen Whately, Health Minister, said that the new Visa would provide a fast-track pathway for health professionals to work in the UK. Announcement about the new NHS Visa comes on the heels of the announcement of a new points-based immigration system to be introduced later this year.
Minister Whately said that the new NHS Visa would provide a fast-track route to foreign doctors and nurses and that too at a reduced Visa fee. UK Home Secretary Priti Patel is expected to outline the details of the new Visa at a later date.
Andrew Bowie, Conservative MP, raised concerns over the shortage of nursing staff at NHS Grampian. He questioned if the new NHS Visa would be available in Scotland. He added that Scotland is facing a severe crisis of doctors (general practitioners). The UK Govt. had spent £1 million on agency nurses in NHS Grampian, which is struggling with a shortage of nurses.
Minister Whately responded by saying that the new NHS Visa would apply to all of the UK.
Jeremy Hunt, Former Health Secretary, pointed out that the new NHS Visa would not apply to nurses in the social care sector. He questioned the Health Minister on how the Govt. planned to tackle the workforce issues in the social care sector.
Minister Whately replied that the UK Govt. is aware of the workforce crunch in the social care sector. It is also aware of the areas which have a high vacancy rate. Employers must take every step possible to make jobs in the social care sector more appealing. They should also ensure that workers in the social care sector are paid well.
The Minister further added that the Govt. acknowledges that it needs to pay an active role in supporting the social care sector. She assured that the UK Govt. would provide adequate support to fix the crisis facing the social care sector.
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