The state-run NHS (National Health Service) of the United Kingdom is planning to recruit more than 5,000 nurses from the Philippines and India in order to address severe workforce shortages in the country.
The NHS has been facing staff shortages as there are close to 35,000 vacancies for profiles of nurses and is facing the heat to fill these positions after the number of nurses coming from the EU (European Union) declined following the referendum to leave the UK.
Prof Ian Cumming, Health Education England’s chief executive, addressing the Health Select Committee of the House of Commons on 28 November, was quoted by The Economic Times as saying that a new scheme of ‘earn, learn and return’ had already been tested with India and will also be replicated in the Philippines soon.
Cumming said that they were currently targeting to bring about 5,500 nurses into the UK. The first pilot of the scheme saw Indian nurses participating and it is expected that 500 nurses will enter Britain by March 2018, making sure that the South Asian country is not dispossessed of a ‘valued resource’ as it addresses the needs of the NHS.
He told the MPs that they were not stripping a country of their treasured resource but they were letting people come to the UK for a fixed period.
He added that this measure was also to aid them with a workforce shortage that they were facing and also to understand how to earn money to send back to their country.
For many years, India was the said to be the second largest source country for nurses next to the Philippines.
The UK’s Royal College of Nursing was quoted as saying that foreign hiring was not capable of filling the massive gaps that were dogging the NHS. It added that as England has 40,000 vacancies for nurses, this move could be hardly considered a bandage.
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