Loophole Allowing UK to Hire Health Care Workers From Developing Countries Damages Global Fight Against HIV, MP Says
December 21, 2005
A loophole in the UK National Health Service's policy banning recruitment of health care workers from developing countries has led to the hiring of thousands of nurses and midwives from such countries and is damaging the global fight against HIV/AIDS and other diseases, Andrew George, a member of Parliament from the minority Liberal Democrat party, said on Monday, London's Guardian reports. George said nurses and midwives are being brought from developing countries to work in the United Kingdom through a loophole in the ban that allows them to work for a short time at a private facility before being hired by the government. Jim Buchan, a professor of health and social sciences at Queen Margaret's University College, said many health care workers, "particularly from sub-Saharan Africa, have come into the NHS through the back door," adding that "some of the nursing homes are making money by charging a fee to put the nurse through the required adaptation period in the UK, which they are required to pass in order to register" and change jobs. George said, "Many of these trained health workers are brought in by private agencies ... [and] end up working in low paid, lower-skilled jobs instead of getting training and specialist work, which would suit them and better prepare them for returning home, if they wish, to help the fight against diseases like AIDS and [tuberculosis]." However, there is a "growing view" within the Labour Party government that the country should help developing countries improve their health systems through exchanges and other programs, rather than prevent the immigration of health care workers, a move that could violate workers' human rights, according to the Guardian (Boseley, Guardian, 12/20).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.