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Home Office relaxes immigration rules for overseas doctors

Philip Braham

The Home Office’s announced that doctors will be excluded from the government’s Tier 2 visa cap. Contributor Philip Braham, Co-founder – Remedium Partners.

The Government has listened to ongoing concerns about visa caps and has removed its restrictions on the number of overseas doctors that can work in the UK. The NHS has long relied on the knowledge and expertise of this diverse talent pool. However, due to the visa caps a number of our NHS hospital partners have been running rotas with numerous gaps for many months now.

This news will allow departments to run safer, more efficient services for patients, with larger numbers of staff. We also welcome the news for our community of doctors, many of whom have been waiting for months to relocate. They will now be able to take up their posts and become an integral part of our NHS.

We are also hopeful that this decision will go a long way towards removing the NHS’s reliance on expensive agency locum doctors as a short-term solution to staffing gaps. Given that a single locum can cost as much as £100,000 in agency fees alone, the NHS not only stands to save significant amounts of money long term, but it will be better placed to provide patients with continuity of care due to a much larger pool of permanent doctors.

And, while the decision marks an exciting period of transformation for the NHS, Trusts will need to focus on strategic workforce planning strategies that not only attract overseas doctors to work in their hospitals, but also retain them on a long term basis. Support with relocation, the development of robust induction programmes and access to ongoing professional development will be crucial to the success of Trusts’ long term attraction and retention strategies.”

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