International nursing staff have always played a vital part in sustaining Scotland’s health and care services. The pandemic has brought to the fore the expertise and value that all nursing staff make; they are all key workers.
While international recruitment cannot be used as a substitute for appropriate domestic training and supply, given current workforce shortages, it is clear that international recruitment must continue so that patients and care home residents can receive safe and effective care.
Theresa Fyffe, Director, RCN Scotland said: “The pandemic has revealed how reliant the NHS is on good social care and vice versa – they cannot be viewed as separate services. It has also highlighted that low wage is in no way synonymous to the skill or value of a professional. For example, a healthcare support worker working with a registered nurse to provide end of life care in a care home, is carrying out a skilled and fundamentally important role which must be better valued.
“Our care system has been heavily reliant on international staff, yet the UK Government’s proposals continue to ignore the significant risk to this sector. Our future immigration system must not use arbitrary salary levels as the primary determinant of a person’s ability to work in the UK.