This site is intended for health professionals only

Deporting nurses "clearly needs a rethink" admits Stevens

Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, admitted that he has been told deporting nurses because they're not earning £35,000 "clearly needs a rethink", in a speech to directors in London.

Speaking at the Institute of Directors annual convention at the Albert Hall yesterday he said that a "national discussion" is taking place on immigration and he has been told that deporting nurses because they're not earning £35,000 "clearly needs a rethink".

He said: "Understandably we're having a national discussion about how to get immigration right. My responsibility is to point out that at a time when the need for nurses is growing, when publicly funded UK nurse training places will take several years to expand, and when agency staff costs are driving hospital overspends right now, we need to better 'join up the dots' on immigration policy and the NHS."

Stevens also admitted to the criticism from health professionals that the immigration plans to deport experienced nurses earning less than £35,000, as well as not allowing nursing to be a shortage occupation has been received.

The NHS chief added that "most nurses I speak to struggle to understand why our immigration rules define ballet dancers as a shortage occupation - but not nursing. And most hospitals tell me that the idea that we would seriously consider deporting some of our most experienced and committed nurses solely because they're not earning £35,000 clearly needs a rethink."

In response to his comments Janet Davies, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, commented: "“It is illogical for nursing not to be considered a shortage occupation when there is understaffing on wards and in care homes across the country.

“Healthcare providers are telling the government that they need these rules to change if they are to provide safe care. Ignoring this issue any longer would be irresponsible, illogical and bad for patients.”

Similarly, NHS Employers have since mentioned that they have written to the home secretary Theresa May to highlight that many NHS Trusts are facing a shortage of nurses going into winter as the Home Office refuses to grant visas to nurses from outside the EU.

"We have also written to the Home Office Migration Advisory Committee calling on nurses to be added to the shortage occupation list," Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers said.