Four Seasons Health Care chief executive Tim Hammond has called on the government to end the uncertainty hanging over the future of EU nurses working in social care ahead of Brexit negotiations.
Tim spoke to Care Home Professional following an MPs report which revealed that uncertainty over Brexit was affecting the morale of EU social care workers (see Brexit uncertainty hits social care staff).
The Four Seasons CEO said: “While I appreciate that the government has to consider immigration within its negotiating position over Brexit, the continuing uncertainty can only exacerbate the problem.
“Nurses and other staff who were trained abroad make a valuable contribution to caring for people in the UK’s care homes and hospitals.”
Tim highlighted Health Education England figures showing a 30,500 shortage of nurses in the UK with an over 23,000 shortfall in nursing care.
Further reports show that 9% of nursing jobs in adult social care are vacant.
“Even given an increase in the number of UK resident future nurses in training, it would take four years for that pipeline to work through to the front line of care,” Tim said.
While acknowledging the inclusion of nursing on the migration shortage occupation list, Tim said it typically took up to a year to bring in nurses from outside the EU.
He said Four Seasons had undertaken a number of measures to boost its nurse recruitment, including: establishing a dedicated nurse recruitment team and a Nurse Academy; supporting the development and progress of nurses throughout the group; providing a preceptorship scheme to support effective nurse training; and the ongoing training of care homes assistant practitioners to support nurses.
“We emphasise to potential candidates that we offer opportunities for career progression including into home management. We also try to offer flexible working arrangements to be family friendly,” Tim said.