UK is Relaxing visa rules for doctors and nurses

A letter to the prime minister from leading health think tanks is the latest plea for a rethink on visa rules that have affected NHS recruitment from outside the European Union. They argue that the NHS workforce is “facing a crisis” with shortages of key staff.

The chief executives of the King’s Fund, the Nuffield Trust and the Health Foundation have come together to make a joint submission to Downing Street ahead of the much-anticipated long-term plan for the NHS promised by Theresa May.

A policy aimed at limiting the number of skilled workers from outside the EU has been criticised by employers. An annual cap of 20,700 has led to thousands of workers, including NHS staff, being denied visas.

The BBC revealed that visas for 100 Indian doctors had been refused. They had been offered short-term contracts as part of a long-running scheme in the north-west of England that provides junior doctors to more than 20 NHS trusts.

Another BBC investigation showed that genetic counsellors, who identify people at risk of hereditary cancer and other serious conditions, were being turned down for visas even though there were workforce shortages.

Image copyright JEFF OVERS/BBC

The Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, has said he will review the visa system for skilled workers, after lobbying by some cabinet ministers. He told the BBC’s Andrew Marr programme he was aware of the difficulties with NHS recruitment.

“I see the problem with that. It is something I’m taking a fresh look at,” he said.

The think tanks’ joint letter says there are “worrying shortages of nurses, GPs and hospital doctors”. It adds: “There is no option but to recruit more staff from overseas and to relax controls on visas.

“Nurses and some other health professionals, like radiographers, are on a shortage-occupation list, which means they are given priority in allocation of visas.

“But most doctors are not. And there has been a campaign by health employers to put all medical jobs on the shortage list or to take all NHS jobs temporarily out of the visa system.”

The think tank Global Future has produced analysis looking at the extent to which the NHS relies on overseas workers.

It says:

  • In the NHS in England, which employs about 1.2 million people in total, one in eight of those staff who have a known nationality – 12.5% – are from overseas
  • NHS staff in clinical roles are much more likely to come from abroad. About a quarter of doctors and 16% of nurses and health visitors are from overseas
  • Up to 45% of staff in some vital NHS specialties, including cardio-thoracic surgeons, paediatric cardiologists and neurosurgeons, are from outside the UK

Longer term, the lobbyists say, there needs to be a 10-year workforce strategy. And this must be given top priority and go “hand-in-hand” with the new funding settlement. They also call for real-terms funding increases of 4% per year. Anything less, they say, will compromise patient care and delay critical repairs to hospital buildings.

NHS leaders, in what looks like a planned campaign, have united behind the 4% per year figure. They fear that anything closer to 3%, which ministers may want to trumpet as a significant boost to NHS finances, won’t allow any improvement to current shortcomings in the system, such as rising waiting lists.

They are up against the Treasury, which has wider issues to deal with in the public finances.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has noted that making a chunky new investment in the NHS will have to be accommodated in the government’s plan to balance the books by the mid-2020s.

“Unless it is able and willing to implement tax rises or further cuts to the social security budget over the rest of this Parliament, it is hard to see how a significant injection of additional cash into the NHS would be consistent with the government’s stated fiscal objective,” it says.

The uncertainty over the path of the economy and future borrowing requirements, adds the IFS, will make the Treasury even more cautious.

Expectation around the government’s long-term NHS funding plan has been growing by the day.

And now added to the calls for higher year-on-year spending are the demands for changes to immigration rules for health workers. That’s a lot for Theresa May to think about.

Source: BBC

High Salaries Attract 329 Indonesian Nurses to Japan

The Japanese Embassy in Jakarta has sent 329 Indonesians to work as medical workers and elderly nurses in Japan, Monday, June 4. This is the 11th group of medical workers and nurses from Indonesia to Japan.

BNP2TKI deputy for placement, Teguh Hendro Cahyono, said the program is a part of the Indonesa-Japan economic partnership corridor that has been established since 2008. Through the agreement, Indonesians can apply for jobs in Japan.

The number of medical workers departing to Japan increases each year; showing high enthusiasm for Indonesians to work in Japan—mainly due to the high salaries offered.

“The salary at where I will be working is ¥175,000 or around Rp21 million,” Rian Setiawan (23), who was leaving to work in an elderly care center in Yokohama, the capital of Kanagawa prefecture, told Tempo on June 4.

Rian and his 328 compatriots will be working in Japan under a contract that lasts three to four years. After a year of selection, they will be placed in hospitals and nursing homes in various regions Japan.

Prior to their departure, the candidates were given Japanese language course for six months in Jakarta. Their flight tickets are paid by the Japanese government.


Critical care Jamaican nurses to complete training in China and UK

Some Jamaican nurses will be going to China and the United Kingdom to complete their training, according to Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton.

Tufton made the announcement on Tuesday while making his contribution to the 2018/2019 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.

He noted that the expansion of nurses’ training in Jamaica, particularly for advanced critical care nurses, is being hampered by a lack of resources.

The Health Minister reminded that he had told the House a year ago that Jamaican nurses are internationally demanded, in short supply and that as a country “we were restricted by the lack of clinical capacity, in particular to train more in Jamaica.”

Tufton noted that, in terms of theory, Jamaican nurses are well rounded, but there was a lack of hospital beds to train. The Health Minister said the Government took this challenge to its international partners and, following negotiations, has signed two bilateral agreements with China and the United Kingdom aimed at addressing the problems.

“We will see Jamaican nurses trained for a part of their advanced training in Jamaica and then go to Chinese and UK hospitals with their local tutors to complete their clinical rotation, a significant achievement that has never been achieved before,” Tufton said to applause.

He revealed that the first batch of nurses and their tutors will leave for China in July. The UK programme will commence in October with the first group leaving to the Leeds Teaching Hospital next April.

“In the first year, Mr Speaker, we will increase critical care nurses’ training by 100 per cent as a result of this new programme …it is something to celebrate,” Tufton told the House.

He also told the House that “the world is looking on and in fact we have been told by our partners that this may be a prototype for future training because one country cannot do it alone and there is a shortage of medically trained personnel globally, not just in Jamaica.”

The Health Minister expressed thanks to the two countries, noting that it took “a lot of negotiations to get it done.”

Jamaica Nurses head overseas to complete critical-care training

The United Kingdom and China have answered the call by Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton for bilateral partnership to boost the training of critical-care nurses. He had made the appeal in January 2017 at the World Health Organization’s summit in Switzerland.

“I am happy to announce, Mr Speaker, that a year on, we have signed not one, but two, bilateral agreements with our partners – China and United Kingdom (UK) – where our Jamaican nurses will train for a part of their advanced training here in Jamaica and then go on to Chinese and UK hospitals with their local tutors to complete their clinical rotation, Mr Speaker,” Tufton told the House while making his contribution to the Sectoral Debate yesterday.

He noted that, currently, Jamaica did not have sufficient hospital space to provide practical training.

Eighteen nurses are scheduled to depart for China next month, along with five tutors, and the minister said that the UK cohort would depart in October. According to Tufton, this programme would increase the training of critical-care nurses by 100 per cent.

“We have been told by our partners that this may be a prototype for future training, because one country cannot do it alone and there is a shortage of medically trained personnel globally, not just in Jamaica,” the health minister said.

The Real Heroes Of Nipah: Kerala Nurse Writes Moving Post On How They Helped Patients

Ruby Sajna, a nurse at Kozhikode Medical College Hospital, shared an emotional post about the recovery of a Nipah-affected patient. The death of Lini, a nurse who worked at Perambra hospital in Kerala, after contracting the Nipah Virus from a patient she attended to, had pushed the medical fraternity into a pall of gloom.
Now, a nurse working at Institute of Chest Disease at the Government Medical College Hospital in Kozhikode, where several Nipah Virus patients are being treated, has shared a heart-warming post that talks about how selflessly the medical staff have been attending to patients.
In a Facebook post, Ruby Sajna, a nurse at KMCH wrote ecstatically about the recovery of a 19-year-old nursing student, who had recently tested positive for Nipah Virus.
Stating that Ajanya, the nursing student is in the path of recovery from the deadly disease, nurse Ruby narrates how this recovery has come as a source of immense happiness for the team.
“She was brought in at the same time nurse Lini was brought to the hospital for treatment. Her (Ajanya) recovery gives us unparalleled happiness,” Ruby wrote in Malayalam.
Ajanya, she writes, was admitted in a critical state – having been affected by myocarditis, and Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, she also showed signs of encephalitis.
Ruby recalled, “She came into our hands in a state of semi-consciousness. This was perhaps the first time that a Nipah affected patient recovered from such a fatal state. This was one instance when I understood what it means to be proud and inexplicably happy.
She also wrote that even as the media widely discussed the Nipah Virus and the government’s handling of the crisis, there were numerous nurses who worked tirelessly, away from the limelight.
“Both audio and visual media in Kerala and society have been discussing the Nipah Virus and government interventions continuously. Wrapped in polythene covers, wearing N-95 masks, which makes it tough for us to breathe freely and with three layers of hand gloves it is the nursing community that attends to Nipah-affected patients in hot and humid rooms, but that is often not spoken about. More than the recognition that we get through such discussions, we are more gratified when someone like Ajanya comes back,” she wrote.
Ruby added, “It was when I witnessed how the bodies of Nipah victims were being taken away from the hospital, that I began to think what the value of humans in this world is. Even when their own families stood away from the bodies, the staff did their duty without any issues.”
Nurse Ruby said that the recovery of the nursing student was the collective victory of the medical staff.
“Even when our small mistakes get amplified and reported in the media, the media should also understand the brave and in a way, scary situation we are now dealing with. Even as the nursing student’s recovery has given us happiness, our duty is not over; we now move on to other patients who need our care,” she wrote.
Speaking about the nursing student’s condition, a doctor who did not wished to be named, told The Times of India:
“She was in a very serious condition and there were episodes of seizures and we had to give her ventilator support initially. But she responded very well to treatment using Ribavirin tablets. She has now been shifted from ICU to an observation ward. With tests repeatedly turning negative, we can say that she has recovered.”
Ruby’s post has resonated with scores of people from Kerala, who have lauded the selfless service carried out by the nursing staff. The post, which was uploaded on June 2, has received more than 18,000 shares so far.
Source: TNM Staff

Dr Isabelle Skinner: The New CEO of The International Council of Nurses

From outback to Geneva: Mount Isa nurse to lead 20 million at the International Council of Nursing
Other than prime ministers or presidents, few people can empathise with the pressure of acting on the behalf of 20 million people. But that is what Dr Isabelle Skinner has been elevated to do in her appointment as the chief executive officer of the International Council of Nursing (ICN).
As a federation of more than 130 national nursing associations, including the Australian College of Nursing, Dr Skinner will soon represent more than 20 million nurses worldwide.
“[The ICN] is a mechanism for nurses to influence policy, and that’s at a global level,” Dr Skinner said. “The job is based in Geneva in Switzerland, it’s a long way from Mount Isa.”
The ICN began in 1899 and strives to give nurses a voice in creating the best practices globally — something Dr Skinner said is not always an easy thing.
“Most nurses work for health departments so it’s actually quite difficult for an individual nurse to have a strong voice on policy issues,” she said.
“So all of the council of national nursing organisations get together every couple of years and think about what it is and that we want to really focus on … for the next two years.
“Then we’ll be working with the World Health Organisation or the United Nations to try and address some of the issues that are really important to nurses.”
Nursing in the early days
Dr Skinner, currently a senior research fellow for James Cook University’s Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health, became at nurse at age 17 and has worked in numerous roles.
After completing training in the Royal Brisbane Hospital her first job was at Cloncurry Hospital.
PHOTO: Dr Isabelle Skinner will soon represent 20 million nurses worldwide and work alongside the World Health Organization. (ABC North West Queensland: Harriet Tatham)
“I’ve worked as a remote area nurse. I’ve been and midwife in neonatal intensive care. I’ve been a public health nurse. I’ve been a nurse manager and DON. And I’ve been a nurse researcher and a teacher,” she said.
Dr Skinner not only moved roles, but also locations — the Northern Territory and Katherine region in the mid-1980s, then through the nineties in WA’s Kimberley on the Dampier Peninsula.
It was in Broome she worked for the Kutjungka Health Service, and most recently she was back up in the Northern Territory out in Arnhem Land.
While her love for the profession has not wavered since she was a teenager, the practice of nursing has gone through major changes.
“When I first started, nurses were still trained in hospitals and so that was a very big change for nursing to move to the university sector,” Dr Skinner said.
“We’ve also moved to evidence-based practice. Certainly, when I started, you were told what to do by a nurse-in-charge. You just followed what they said.”
The benefit of remote nursing
While there is a widespread perception that some of the best career opportunities in healthcare come from metropolitan centres that are fitted with the latest technologies, Dr Skinner said she believed remote Australia was just an advantageous.
“You only get what you seek, and so if you seek to stay and in one place then that’s what you’ll get,” she said.
“But if you really want something different you can do that from anywhere. It doesn’t matter where you are.
“In fact, the chief nurse for the World Health Organisation comes from the Cook Islands, so it really doesn’t matter how remote you are. You can achieve, whatever it is you use seek.”
Dr Skinner will begin her role with the International Council of Nursing in Geneva in August.
ABC North West Qld By Harriet Tatham

Dr Isabelle Skinner appointed CEO of International Council of Nurses

The President and Board of Directors of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) today announced the appointment of Dr Isabelle Skinner as ICN’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) as of 1 August 2018.

Dr Skinner, a registered nurse and a registered midwife, is a member of the Australian College of Nurses. She is currently Senior Research Fellow at James Cook University in Mount Isa, Australia and has served as Associate Dean Research and Research Training and the Director of the Office of Learning and Teaching at Charles Darwin University. She is an experienced leader and innovator in health and higher education with expertise in leading innovation across health systems and high impact research to address complex health and social concerns. Dr Skinner holds a PhD from La Trobe University, a Masters in Public Health and Tropical Medicine from James Cook University, a Graduate Diploma in Professional Communications (multimedia) from the University of Southern Queensland and an Executive MBA from Melbourne Business School. She specialises in digital health and has researched and evaluated telehealth services, designed mHealth (mobile health) and eHealth (electronic health) services.

With 32 years of experience as a nurse, including progressive leadership, consulting and board experience, Dr Skinner has run her own research and consultancy business for the last four years, for which she was a finalist in the Telstra Business Woman of the Year for the Northern Territory. Dr Skinner was the State Commissioner for the Northern Territory and has extensive experience on the Boards of not-for-profit member organisations such as Girl Guides Australia and CRANAplus. She is a Fellow of CRANAplus, the Australian national health professional organisation for remote health practitioners and is an Aurora Award recipient for her leadership and advocacy for remote health.

Dr Skinner is passionate about improving access to specialist health care services for people in remote and rural communities around the world. She has worked with health care teams and students in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore, Zimbabwe and China. The health promotion Facebook page she edits has nearly ½ a million followers in 49 countries. She was selected as ICN’s Chief Executive Officer among highly qualified candidates from around the world.

“I am delighted to welcome Dr Skinner as the new head of ICN. The ICN Board and staff look forward to working with her in this new role as CEO, as she continues and advances the tremendous work of Interim CEO Professor Thomas Kearns, leading nurses and the populations they serve to quality health care for all”, stated ICN’s President Annette Kennedy.
“I look forward to working with the ICN Board and all of our National Nursing Organisations to advance the standing of nurses and nursing globally. “ Dr Skinner said, “Nurses are the health systems’ biggest resource and are there in communities around the world preventing illness, monitoring, treating and caring for people across the lifespan. This is an exciting time for nurses to use our collective voice to lead in transforming our health systems and improving the health of our global community.”

Dr Skinner takes up the position currently being held by Interim CEO, Professor Thomas Kearns, who has led the organisation for the past nine months, continuing the transformation and structural changes needed to ensure that ICN continues as the global voice of nursing.

Note for Editors
The International Council of Nurses (ICN) is a federation of more than 130 national nurses associations representing the millions of nurses worldwide. Operated by nurses and leading nursing internationally, ICN works to ensure quality care for all and sound health policies globally.

For further information contact Julie Clerget at: Tel: +41 22 908 0100 Fax: +41 22 908 0101

@ICNurses on Twitter

Isabelle Skinner Becomes International Council of Nurses CEO

– She is to lead 20 million Nurses worldwide as the CEO of International Council of Nurses

Isabelle Skinner is about to become the boss of every nurse on the planet.

Dr Skinner who works as the senior research fellow at the Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote has today been appointed the CEO of the International Council of Nurses.

“It is very exciting for me,’ Dr Skinner said.

Dr Skinner will be packing her bags for Geneva, Switzerland this August to begin her new role.

The registered nurse, turned researcher, began her career as a remote area nurse in Cloncurry.

“I then went onto study midwifery and worked in the Kimberlys for a very long time. It has been a very varied and interesting career,” Dr Skinner said.

“It is possible to do anything from Mount Isa, for the people who have an opportunity to work out here, it is a great experience.

“You get to work with lots of different people and you really establish yourself as someone who can work in a multidisciplinary team,” she said.

“You build a lot of skills out here that you probably wouldn’t at an inner city hospital in Brisbane.”

Dr Skinner is an an experienced leader and innovator in health with 32 years of experience as a nurse.

She is passionate about improving access to specialist health care services for people in remote and rural communities around the world and has worked in remote Australia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore, Zimbabwe and China.

The health promotion facebook page she edits has nearly half a million followers in 49 countries. She was selected as ICN’s CEO among highly qualified candidates from around the world.

ICN president Annette Kennedy said she was delighted to welcome Dr Skinner as the new head of the council.

“The ICN board and staff look forward to working with her in this new role as CEO, as she continues and advances the tremendous work of Interim CEO Professor Thomas Kearns, leading nurses and the populations they serve to quality health care for all,” she said.

The International Council of Nurses is a federation of more than 130 national nurses associations representing the millions of nurses worldwide.
Source: North West Star

Chhattisgarh Nurses Forced to Call off Strike in Return for ‘Assurances’

Nurses working at government hospitals across Chhattisgarh called off their strike on Saturday night after getting an ‘assurance’ from the state government. More than 3,000 nurses had resorted to the strike on May 18 under the banner of Chhattisgarh Paricharika Karmachari Kalyan Sangh (CPKKS), raising a series of demands, including pay scale revision and promotions. After several round of negotiations, the protesting nurses were assured that a committee would take a decision within 45 days on the demands.

The six demands are: giving the staff nurses the grade 2 category and seventh pay commission on Rs. 4,600 pay grade, equal pay for equal work, increase in nursing allowance and other incentives, ensuring that nursing quarters are close to the hospital, and bridging the shortfall in nursing staff.

CPKKS pointed out that in other states, staff nurses get the pay grade of Rs. 4,600 while in Chhattisgarh, they get the pay grade of Rs 2,800. CPKKS has been raising these demands for the past three years. When the state government did not fulfil the promises it made in this regard, the nurses went on strike.

In response, the BJP government on May 29 invoked the Essential Services Maintenance Act, 1979 (ESMA), terming the strike unconstitutional, and asked the nurses to resume work. However, the nurses refused to back down even as talks between the Directorate of Health Services and the union failed.

On June 1, as many as 607 nurses were arrested as they had continued the strike after the invocation of ESMA. 227 of the arrested nurses, including some who were pregnant, were lodged in the Raipur jail. CPKKS termed this an attempt by the government to suppress the peaceful protest using the police.

“Some of the nurses who were arrested today are pregnant and yet, they have not been released,” said a CPKKS member while talking to media.

“They were arrested in the morning but no food was provided to them till the evening. In the jail, 10 nurses went on a hunger strike. One of the nurses fainted. After being released, the nurses complained that they were harassed inside the jail and the women were not allowed to feed their children. The nurses protesting outside continued to do so despite the rain. In the jail, there was no arrangement for toilets,” JSA Chhattisgarh noted, pointing out the rights violations which had occurred.

“The nurses were even told to drink the water that was being used in the toilets. Moreover, they reported that the jail guards misbehaved,” the JSA briefing added.

Meanwhile, the DHS Ranu Sahu said that “the nurses would be released if they agree to come back on work”.

However, the CPKKS said that they had been mentally harassed and forced to call off the strike. They added that they were under a lot of political pressure due to which they called off their strike despite none of their demands being met.

Kwara Nurses Suspend Strike Because a Nurse Was Made Commissioner for Health

The National Association of Nigeria Nurses and Midwives (NANNM) Kwara State chapter, has suspended its strike, which commenced on April 26.

Joseph Adekanye, the state chairman of the association, stated this on Monday, during a Press Conference at the Nurses House Secretariat in Ilorin.

Mr Adekanye disclosed that the nurses decided to suspend the strike “to honour a Nurse, Rifun Kolo, who was appointed Commissioner for Health, by Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed of Kwara.

According to him, the association has decided to allow one of their own, a nurse, appointed as commissioner, to help the government to resolve some of the challenges in the health sector.

He said: “The commissioner came on board while we are on strike, but we have decided to give him the benefit of the doubt, between now and six months.

“If the government is serious, a space of six month`s is enough to address the issues that has been brought to the attention of the government.

Mr Adekanye listed some of the challenges the Kwara nurses were facing to include, request for 100 percent implementation of Consolidated Health Salary Structure (CONHESS).

He said it was long overdue and that the nurses agreed to 10 per cent increase over the current 50 per cent CONHESS.

The chairman appealed to the state government to work hard to ensure the implementation of the CONHESS, to reduce the mass exodus of nurses and midwives from public service for greener pastures.


Source: Premium Times