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International Nurse Mobility

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what action the Government will take to address the findings of the study International Nurse Mobility: Trends and Policy Implications on England's reliance on nurses from overseas; [127012](2) if he will make a statement on the findings of the study International Nurse Mobility: Trends and Policy Implications published jointly by the World Health Organisation, the International Council of Nurses, and the Royal College of Nursing, UK on 28 June. [127013]

As concluded in the study's findings, international recruitment is a short-term measure in helping alleviate the current workforce pressures in the national health service. Work continues in increasing the number of training places and encouraging healthcare professionals to return to the national health service through our "Improving Working Lives" initiatives and is proving to be successful.The Department of Health is actively discouraging the NHS from recruiting healthcare workers from developing countries. We are unable to stop the movement of individuals wanting to work in the NHS. The code of practice produced for NHS employers discourages the NHS from actively recruiting from overseas and recent Nursing and Midwifery Council figures have indicated a levelling out of entrants from developing countries.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (l) what action he will take to address the point made in International Nurse Mobility: Trends and Policy Implications on England's development and retention of its own nurses; and if he will make a statement; [127014](2) what efforts the Government is making to diminish England's reliance on nurses from overseas, with particular reference to developing countries. [127015]

The Government are committed to developing nurses in England through their national nursing strategy, 'Making a Difference'. A comprehensive programme of national and local action has been taking place. This will expand the workforce, strengthen education and training, provide a modern career framework and decent pay, improve the working and employment conditions of nurses, and develop their leadership skills and equip and empower them to take on new, expanded and more satisfying roles.Accreditation to the Improving Working Lives (IWL) Standard is also creating well-managed, flexible working environments that support all staff and promotes their welfare and development, in and out of the work place. IWL sets a model of good human resource (HR) practice against which national health service employers and their staff can measure the organisation's HR management and against which all NHS employers are currently being kite-marked. It is also an integral part of the HR performance management process.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans the Government has to make his Department's ethical guidelines in international nurse recruitment mandatory for all employers in (a) the NHS and (b) the independent sector. [127016]

National health service employers involved in international recruitment are strongly commended to adhere to the code of practice.We are currently in the process of strengthening the code of practice in consultation with our solicitors.The Independent Healthcare Association has worked with the Department to produce a document "Guide for the Provision of Adaptation for Nurses in the in the Independent and National Health Service Sectors", which has been circulated across the public and private healthcare sectors.