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Adding nursing assistants to the Shortage Occupation List ‘won’t end the workforce crisis’ warns RCN

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Passport control 'The Government must remove all arbitrary barriers that prevent talented and much needed health and care professionals working in the UK,' says the RCN

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has given a cautious welcome to the Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) decision to add senior care workers and nursing assistants to its shortage occupation list (SOL), which shows which occupations are facing a shortage of labour ahead of the introduction of a new points based immigration system in 2021.

‘Nursing shortages within the social care sector pose a concern according to stakeholders, who suggested it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit and retain nurses in social care and expressed concerns that Britain’s departure from the EU will exacerbate these issues further, due to the high proportion of non-UK EEA nationals currently working in these roles,’ said the MAC.

‘We agree with the recommendation that nursing support workers and assistants across health and care be added to the shortage occupation list,’ said RCN General Secretary Dame Donna Kinnair. ‘But with tens of thousands of vacancies across the UK, these changes alone won’t end the workforce crisis which threatens the safe and effective care of patients.’

Dame Donna also took a swipe at the Immigration Health surcharge, which the RCN has been campaigning against.

‘The Government must remove all arbitrary barriers that prevent talented and much needed health and care professionals working in the UK, including removal of the unfair tax for using the services they deliver. It must also progress a clear, well-funded plan to grow and develop our existing workforce and domestic routes into nursing.’

The MAC, which provides independent, evidence-based advice on migration issues to the Government, was commissioned to consider what medium-skill occupations should be included ahead of the introduction of a points-based immigration system on 1 January 2021.

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