Immigration rules are hitting recruitment say hospital chiefs
BOSSES at Macclesfield Hospital have warned that ‘stringent’ immigration rules are preventing them hiring nurses for the winter.
Ten heads of leading NHS trusts, including the East Cheshire NHS Trust, have signed a letter urging the Home Secretary to help address the shortage by allowing foreign nurses to work in the UK.
Lobby group NHS Employers, which is leading the campaign on behalf of the health trusts, estimated 1,000 certificates of sponsorship for nurses outside the EU would be needed within the next six months and “large numbers” of applications had been rejected.
The organisation’s chief executive, Danny Mortimer, said: “These are nurses who’ve been recruited and could start work in the NHS shortly - but we can’t get them into the country. They are trained, registered nurses recruited from outside the EU - most typically from India and the Philippines. Their absence will be keenly felt. We are asking Theresa May to relieve the pressure on already stretched services as we head into the winter months.”
John Wilbraham, chief executive of East Cheshire NHS Trust, has spoken to Macclesfield MP David Rutley, who has pledged to take the issue to the Department of Health and Home Office.
Mr Rutley said: “I have been reassured that there are no issues with nursing levels in Macclesfield, but there are concerns that as the populations ages there could be growing recruitment from overseas.
“The government is also taking action by looking to recruit 23,000 nurses over the next four years.”
Over the last 10 years ago dozens of Philipinos and Spanish nurses have arrived in Macclesfield.
Kath Senior, Director of Nursing at Macclesfield Hospital, said: “East Cheshire NHS Trust is a very attractive place for nurses to come and work. Despite this, and despite actively recruiting from a number of EU countries, like many other trusts we have found it difficult to recruit enough permanent nursing staff in recent months. As a result, we have been forced to seek additional resources to ensure safe staffing requirements.
“We welcome the Government’s commitment to additional training places for nurses but it will take several years for these trainees to become qualified. In the meantime, we believe that more nurses from outside the EU need to be made available to the NHS to meet current demands.”
●● Businessman Faris Mousa outside Manchester Crown Court