03 April

The healthcare sector suffers from a “perfect storm” in which agencies are still recruiting from member states but interest in roles is dramatically decreasing.

This weekend’s Observer reports Tory, Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs have called on government ministers to not only guarantee that EU staff already working in the NHS can stay, but also that recruitment from EU countries can continue, with NHS workers given special status.

Commenting on the reports, Tawhid Juneja, CEO at healthcare agency Primary Care People, told Recruiter he did not think it is an over exaggeration to say failure to act on the MPs’ request would cost lives if EU nationals do not have the freedom to work in the UK. “It shouldn’t even be a consideration,” he said.

“We actually have 30 GPs from Europe arriving this week for our GP scholarship programme and then another 30 every other month… we have to continue to support understaffed areas of the UK to ensure patients safety.”

But Barry Pactor, group managing director ttm Healthcare, said attracting EU workers to come to the UK in the first place is easier said than done in a post-Brexit world.

“It is having a significant impact on the NHS, and both on the permanent and temporary agency sector. Our research shows applications from the EU are down 90% since Brexit. That’s also down to English language tests being set at a ridiculously high level.

“The two together have created a perfect storm, which means EU nurses are no longer interested in coming to the UK.”

Meanwhile, Olivia Spruce, operations director at TFS Healthcare, called on the government to “firmly acknowledge” the “critical shortage” of nursing talent within the UK. “This is a huge recruitment and retention crisis, which we need to address,” she said.

“By no means is EU recruitment a panacea to the overall skills shortage, but it is certainly one recruitment and retention opportunity that we need to be open-minded to. In order to safely staff our wards, we need to explore global staffing as well as domestic solutions – why would we not consider the EU as part of this?

“The perception that EU nurses can be used as potential bargaining chips for a smoother EU exit needs to stop. This integral part of the NHS workforce needs reassurance. Failure to do this now and in the future will only exacerbate the deepening crisis.”

Article Source : http://www.recruiter.co.uk/

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