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NHS recruiting from Australia

Posted on 24.07.2019
by  Yasmin Titterton
Across the NHS, there’s a shortage of more than 100,000 staff. This affects Nurses, Doctors, Allied Healthcare Professionals and Care Staff.  This number is rising.

Brexit and immigration policy will have an impact on the ability of the NHS to successfully fill these vacancies. We have turned to overseas recruitment for decades and now more than ever international hiring is key in addressing the lack of staff. A proportion of workers in both the NHS and social care sector have grown over time, suggesting that both sectors have become increasingly reliant on EU migrants. Unfortunately, the UK government’s actions on immigration and the dangers presented by Brexit to finding staff in Europe mean that the NHS is facing unnecessary barriers to fill and secure job roles.

Caroline Hiscox, director of nursing for NHS Grampian was quoted, “This is the first time a health board in this country has tried to address the overall nursing shortage by targeting newly qualified Australian Nurses in this way.” “There was a risk attached – but the benefits for both the organisations have been fantastic. To have more than 100 qualified Nurses lined up already is fantastic news – for us and for our patients!”

Latest figures show that of the 100,000 vacancies for doctors and Nurses; in the West Midlands alone EU nationals account for 10% of all nursing staff. It’s been confirmed by the Chief Executive of Sandwell and City Hospitals that more than 50 Nurses will be brought over from Australia and New Zealand to help with the significant shortage. The new recruits will arrive in the West Midlands next year, some include returning Brits.

This is an incredible opportunity for newly qualified Australian Nurses. Recent changes by the UK’s Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) means that Nurses that have recently graduated can work in the UK immediately after qualifying without requiring 12 months experience, post qualification.
Moving to the other side of the world is also not an easy step to take, so, teams are working closely with all individuals to ease their transition. Anyone who secures a visa will be asked to work a minimum of 2 years and will be provided support for theory and practical exams.

Brexit may present some opportunities for the UK, for example, it provides the chance to progress further and faster on public health regulation and remove rules on competition that are seen to present obstacles to the integration of and collaboration between health services.

A Kingsfund article concludes, “However, if freedom of movement and membership of the single market and customs union end when the UK leaves the EU, as currently planned under the Prime minister’s deal, then the NHS and social care face a number of significant threats. These include: the potential impact on the health and social care workforces that rely considerably on staff who are EU nationals; the impact on future trading relationships, which could affect the affordability and supply of drugs and other products; and, of course, the impact on the wider economy, the performance of which will affect future funding for health and social care.”
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