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Immigration cap to fuel specialist nurse training


A planned immigration cap could force the NHS to train more specialist nurses, a workforce expert has told Nursing Times.

The government is proposing to limit the number of British visas available for non-EU migrants with skills on the shortage occupation list, which includes specialist theatre and neonatal intensive care nurses.

National Nursing Research Unit director Peter Griffiths said this put the onus on the NHS to solve any shortages by training its own staff, rather than recruiting from abroad. He told Nursing Times some areas, such as theatre nursing, were experiencing shortages because they were no longer part of the undergraduate curriculum, so few students experienced the work during placements.

He said: “There’s a generally recognised tendency that people are, by and large, more likely to consider going into a particular area if they have some experience of it.”

Placements should be more informed by the future needs of the workforce, he added.

The cap is part of a government drive to reduce net immigration to 1990s levels.

A consultation paper says employers must exhaust “every reasonable avenue” to recruit workers already resident in the UK before looking overseas, and demonstrate a “practical commitment to upskilling British workers”.

HCL locum agency executive vice chair Kate Bleasdale agreed that more nurses must be trained for roles in special care baby units, theatres, intensive care and paediatrics.

She warned the NHS would struggle under the immigration cap as it would “not take into account the healthcare needs of different regions, or the overall rising demand”.


Readers' comments (4)

  • Where I work, we depend very much on overseas nurses and they are the back bone of our work force. Specialist areas find it difficult to recruit and often have an older work force. This leaves a huge gap in many areas and will effect patient care

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  • Specialist nurses. If ever a phrase was over used. Still the same old lamentable work force planning as 30 years ago. Maybe with the NMC now having a education remit they might pull a finger out and sort this in a decade or two?

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  • I have always wanted to work in theatre and was not allowed to choose my dream specialty area because another university organises our university students' placements. Basically their students were allowed to choose where they wanted and we get whatever thats left for us. How DISGUSTING! I think all student should be able to choose their elective. Im glad that university is no longer offering nursing course degree anymore! AT least our future students dont have to suffer anymore!

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  • Hi anonymous. What do you mean not offering nursing course degree anymore? It's going to be all degree after April isn't it?

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