The pandemic has again highlighted the crucial role that EU and international staff play in UK health and social care services. Our colleagues who come to the UK from across the world must be and feel valued.
The RCP has long understood that medicine and the NHS are part of a global family, and the value that people from other parts of the world bring to our health and care services. One in four of our hospital staff were born outside the UK, so we simply wouldn’t have the NHS we do without immigration.
The RCP also recognises that the UK needs to take an ethical approach to overseas recruitment, which is why we are strong advocates for the expansion of the Medical Training Initiative. As we benefit from doctors who come to the UK to train, we want their home countries to benefit from their training.
What we have done
Through our work we aim to make the UK more inviting and accessible to physicians as a place to learn, train and practise. That’s why we:
- strongly encouraged the Home Office to change its tone on immigration in January 2020
- calculated that the NHS could end up spending up to half a billion pounds per year on international recruitment post-Brexit
- repeatedly made the case in public for a fairer, cheaper and less bureaucratic immigration system, most recently in The Times newspaper.
Alongside our partners and others, we have successfully lobbied for
- doctors and nurses to be excluded from the government’s cap on skilled migration
- all medical practitioners to be included in the government’s shortage occupation list
- a commitment to consider expanding the Medical Training Initiative in the interim NHS people plan.
What we are doing
In light of the importance of staff from overseas in the UK’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are now calling on the government for a new deal for international staff working in the NHS and social care:
- exempt all NHS and social care staff, and their spouses and dependants, from the Immigration Health Surcharge
- provide all NHS and social care staff who have worked during the pandemic, and their spouses and dependants, indefinite leave to remain
- extend the proposed NHS Visa to social care staff.
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