As we are all aware the NHS is currently suffering from a severe shortage of nurses. This has an ongoing effect on patient care and staff morale leading to nurses leaving this wonderful institution in droves. I understand the UK government is trying to solve this problem; however, still there is no solution for this crisis. The expense of hiring staff from overseas still will not solve the staffing crisis; neither will changes in the English Test such as IELTS and OET.
Please take this opportunity to make a difference, help us to help our amazing NHS. It is really frustrating to hear that Thousands of experienced overseas Registered Nurses are still working as Health Care Assistant's in NHS hospitals and Care Homes all over the UK. These nurses are British citizens or permanant residents(settlement visa) in the UK and want to be recognised for the qualifications that they possess within their native countries. They want to be able to practice as a fully registered nurse and support our NHS to sustain and build for the future.
It’s disappointing that some care homes in UK are using these highly skilled nurses for medication administration, dealing with medical emergencies and liaising with the multi-disciplinary teams. However these nurses are only recognised as Health care Assistant's (trained overseas nurses) and are paid the same wage as a health care assistant. This is a loss to the NHS workforce who desperately needs to increase its numbers of registered nurses to sustain its growth.
As we all know, until 2004, there were no criteria to get a nursing registration in the UK for overseas nurses. Therefore all those nurses who got registered before 2004 are still working in NHS in higher positions. This highlights the in equality of the situation, how can this be justified when the NHS is in desperate need of registered nurses? This also highlights the fact that overseas nurses can manage medical emergency and non-emergency situations without having the English language tests. At present in order to get NMC Registration in UK either IELTS or OET score is mandatory.
In 2017, Ireland brought back an adaptation programme only for Health care Assistant's with overseas nursing qualifications as well as citizenship in Ireland to help solve the nursing crisis. Hence, they greatly improved the nursing shortages within Ireland post 2017. By considering the above factors, It is imperative that the UK bring back a bridging programme for trained overseas nurses, especially for all those working in the UK health sector for more than 5 years.
These trained nurses only require minimal training and updating as they are already qualified and experienced nurses from overseas. This will be a more cost effective option than bringing nurses from Abroad and will undoubtedly improve the nursing shortage crisis within the NHS.