Employability Forum calls for better use of skilled refugees in nursing

The
Government must make greater use of refugees to fill nursing skills gaps,
according to the results of a year-long study.

The
Employability Forum, which advises the Government on employment of refugees,
will present health minister, John Hutton, with the report that will offer a
more effective way to register and employ refugee nurses.

It
will also recommend an improved national database, making employers aware of
the untapped skills on their doorstep, at the Employability Forum conference
‘Silver Lining: Integrating refugee skills into the workforce’.

Personnel
Today’s Refugees in Employment campaign has lobbied for a refugees skills
database for two years now. And despite promises from the Government, no such
database exists yet.

Roswyn
Hakesley-Brown, who chaired the taskforce which carried out the research, said
refugee nurses have huge talents to offer, which the UK badly needs.

“At
a time of skills shortages in the nursing workforce, refugee nurses represent a
significant, but largely untapped, pool of talent,” she said. “They bring
valuable knowledge and experience that the NHS needs and, generally, they are
ready to start work as soon as appropriate adaptation has been completed.”

The
report will address the following issues:

·
How to create a more effective pathway to registration and employment for
refugee nurses who are often discouraged and give up the struggle to obtain
recognition of their skills.

·
An improved national database to make employers aware of the untapped skills on
their doorstep.

·
The development of professional partnerships between health authorities, higher
education, employers and voluntary agencies to provide appropriate training for
refugee nurses.

·
Better guides and information for refugee nurses coupled with a marketing campaign.

·
Appropriate intensive language training

·
Introducing more supervised practice placements and mentoring.

·
Better provision for professionals at Job Centres so that they are not obliged
to take the first job available regardless of qualifications.

The
working group which has produced the strategy included representatives from the
Department of Health, the Home Office, the Welsh Assembly, Unison, the Royal
College of Nursing and the Nursing and Midwifery Council, as well as a range of
health authorities and trusts, universities and other private and public sector
bodies.

By Michael Millar

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