Readers’ views: 14-18 August 2017

A weekly round-up of comments on stories

Definitely time to act on the nursing crisis

Absolutely nailed it. Roland Sheehan and his article published on clearly summarises the current scenario of nursing in the UK. There is no panacea for that, which the Tories could enforce immediately. Needless to say, it’s a self-invited disaster by the NHS over the decade and the recovery perhaps would be a wild imagination for the citizens. 

In early 2012, if am not wrong, many parliamentary members had discussed about privatisation of the NHS. In fact, at the moment, it is the only solution that NHS can do to save the life of many who are old (those who build the real UK and Great Britain). However, when privatisation comes, finance would become a concern as well. Here, I guess, government either has to bargain or adopt alternative options.

Owing to the recruitment from both EU and non-EU nations, in my opinion, the UK is no longer a nurse friendly or attractive place for international nurses due to various reasons. Firstly, the income is pretty much the same, compared to Australia and Canada, whereas workload is considerably higher than that of these countries.

Furthermore, tough competency exams like IELTS [International English Language Testing System], CBT [cognitive behavioural therapy] and OSCE [objective structured clinical examination] is pulling back candidates and forcing them to opt for Canada, Australia and New Zealand instead of the UK. IELTS is the primary barrier for international nurses – to score 7 on each module out of 9 is a uphill task for candidates and a profiteering business for Cambridge English Language Assessment, the British Council and IDP Education.

Opting for CBT and OSCE instead of overseas nursing programmes brought up chaos in the nursing field. The pass mark for both exams is roughly 85% and the pass rate is only 50-60%, even after second or third attempts. Most importantly, it’s very expensive as well. While three months’ adaptation used ti give opportunities for nurses to understand what the UK standard of healthcare system is and its policies, now if they pass exams, they have to hit the ground and run without much awareness about the system, culture, local languages and policies of care.

In addition, the cost of living in London is extremely high and makes thinking about living in London a nightmare for many of us.

Between 2010 and 2012, immigration rules and regulations have changed drastically to curb the migration. As a result, getting citizenship of the UK is becoming a weird dream: £35k per annum is the primary requirement for nurses after five years for citizenship. Are you kidding me? After a 1% paycap?? No way. Who would want to come to the UK?

I think the government should let the NHS go and privatise it. To ensure equality and care they must follow the US healthcare policy of health insurance if possible. As recruitment need to be fluent, rules and exams need to liberated at least marginally.

Let’s hope for the best and wait and see.

Elmon Paul, post BSc, Nursing

Nursing crisis: language test, not Brexit, to blame

Wise words from Roland Sheehan but there is one important aspect of the oft-quoted figure of a 96% year-on-year reduction in EU nurses applying for positions in the UK that was not mentioned.

The reduction is almost universally blamed on Brexit which, in my experience as an international nurse recruiter, is actually not the primary cause.

I talk every day to nurses primarily from Eastern and Central Europe, and the big issue for them is IELTS, not Brexit. 

Why was this imposed now when the UK healthcare sector has never been more desperate for nurses? Why was it not phased in over a period of time, with target levels of competency in English to be met in stages over, say, three years?

The all or nothing barrier to entry these nurses currently face (‘Level 7 IELTS or no PIN’) is sending them in droves to Germany, Italy and the Middle East, when previously the UK would have been their first choice.

Chris Meade, executive director, Acqua Dolce

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