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2007 Health Care Service Group Conference
29 December 2006
Carried as Amended

There has been much media speculation of late that overseas nurses will be barred from employment in an attempt to help home grown candidates.

This speculation is surprising given that the UK has been in a dilemma for a number of years owing to the massive shortage of qualified specialist nurses.

Indeed, the government has been encouraging Trust, PCTs and others to recruit overseas nurses to bridge the shortfall.

Since the Windrush, overseas nurses have played a massive role in the NHS in building, maintaining and fulfilling the roles of providing specialities across the Country. They have provided an extremely valuable contribution to the health of our nation in doing so.

Poor workforce planning has led to overseas nurses being recruited at the same time as UK graduates are qualifying. This has led to a perception of over supply of nurses and other members of the healthcare team. Such a situation can and has caused unrest and contributes to poor race relations. Both UK and overseas trained nurses make a vital contribution to the delivery of healthcare, by working together they can develop an improved understanding of each others practise, knowledge and expertise, which benefits patient care with the provision of more culturally sensitive services.

The decision of the Home Office to remove band 5 and 6 from the Government shortage list will have a negative impact on overseas nurse’s ability to gain experience of UK practise. We have opposed this decision and will continue to do so.

Recent figures published by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) indicate that more than 150,000 nurses are due to retire in the 5-10 years. The RCN further report that we will not be able to replace this deficit with home grown nurses alone, particularly given the current numbers of nurses who do not complete their nurse training and the numbers of nurses who leave the profession entirely.

The National Black Members’ Committee therefore calls on the Health Service Group Executive to lobby the health ministers to prevent this happening.

And to raise the issue with the TUC to minotor and audit the processes involved in ensuring that overseas nurses are not scapegoated or disenfranchised in their career development opportunities.