Overseas nurses keeping the NHS afloat

The
contribution of 60,000 overseas nurses is responsible for keeping the
equivalent of 15 UK
hospitals open, delegates at the TUC Conference heard yesterday.

Filipino
nurse Janice Carandang, a
member of public sector union Unison, said that 10,000-15,000 NHS beds –
equivalent to 15 district general hospitals – along with 150 private nursing
and residential homes, would
have to close if the 60,000 nurses were not available.

"The
positive contribution of overseas nurses and other migrant workers is often
overlooked by politicians keen on stoking up fear. Fear that in some parts of
the UK, is being turned into hate,"
she said.

According
to Carandang, the NHS has
done a good job in offering jobs and training to overseas nurses – especially
those escaping from low pay, long hours and abuse at the hands of unscrupulous
owners of private nursing homes.

But
the recent spate of racist attacks against foreign nurses could threaten future
recruitment, Unison has warned.

Michael
Walker, London
nursing officer at Unison, said the UK
was in direct competition with the US
and Australia
to recruit registered nurses and it is vital that nurses were treated with
dignity and respect.

"The
NHS has a shortfall of 25,000 qualified nurses," he said. "Unison
maintains that, without the contribution of 60,000 overseas nurses and 25,000
overseas doctors, comprehensive healthcare in the UK
would cease to exist.”

By Daniel Thomas

 

 

 

 

 

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