LETTER: Services could grind to a halt

A crisis is looming in our hospitals, our care homes and our community nursing services which must be averted now.

Nurses recruited after 2011 from outside Europe will be removed from the UK after they have spent six years here, simply because they are not earning at least £35,000 because of this government’s changes to immigration rules. This new rule makes no sense in a profession such as nursing where few can hope to achieve such a wage.

Across the South East, hundreds of nursing staff could be affected, in turn damaging services and compromising the safety of patients.

We are in the middle of a severe nursing shortage in the South East and our nurses that have been recruited from abroad are essential to us being able to continue to provide care to patients. They were recruited at a cost of thousands of pounds to the NHS, and are filling gaps in our workforce that we cannot fill ourselves due to previous cuts that were made to nurse training places.

These nurses have come to our region to care for us, our families, our friends. We need to keep them as without their help, our services could grind to a halt. Therefore the Royal College of Nursing is calling for the government to act now to address this anomaly by ensuring nurses are among the professions exempt from this rule. We also want an increase in nurse training places so that we are less reliant on other countries.

Rachel Greaves

Chair, Royal College of Nursing South East Regional Board and RCN Council member

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