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Britain Launches Plan to 'Recruit' Jamaican Nurses Amid Windrush Controversy

  • A paramedic walks past an ambulance parked outside 10 Downing Street in London, Britain.

    A paramedic walks past an ambulance parked outside 10 Downing Street in London, Britain. | Photo: Reuters

Published 24 April 2018
Opinion

Under the mantra of “earn, learn, return,” the partnership aims to attract nurses from Jamaica for a fixed period of three years.

Amid the British government crackdown on the Windrush Generation, Caribbean-born residents who migrated to the United Kingdom between the 1940s and 70s, threatening them with deportation and denying public services to them, the same government has begun a recruitment program to attract nurses from Jamaica to work in the National Health Service (NHS).

RELATED: 
Whistleblowers: UK Home Office Destroyed Windrush Generation's Landing Cards

Under the mantra of “earn, learn, return,” the partnership aims to attract nurses from Jamaica for a fixed period of three years to help fill the over 34,000 vacancies across the health services in Britain. After their stint is completed, they will return to Jamaica, according to the Independent. The government hopes to attract some 5,550 nurses directly from Jamaica.

Britain's Department of Health said the program would afford the Jamaican nurses with experiences and training that will enable to return home and improve Jamacia's health care services. Some contend, however, that nurses from Jamaica have more knowledge to offer than receive since the country's medical training programme runs for four years and is more comprehensive than the three program completed by NHS nursing staff.

“The NHS is blazing a trail in healthcare across the world and it is testament to the skills and expertise of our dedicated nurses that other countries are vying for their knowledge to help improve their own services,” said Britain's Health Minister Stephen Barclay. “I’m delighted that we’re partnering with Jamaica in this scheme, which will build on our existing collaboration with India, and further demonstrates the government’s commitment to forging new international relationships in preparation for the UK to leave the European Union.”

Nursing chiefs argue that the program is a short-term solution to broader problems faced by Britain's nursing sector. The shortages in staff have been the result of pay restraints spanning several years, removal of bursaries for new nurse trainees, as well as a lack of funding for training, according to the Independent.

While Britain scrambles to find nurses from some of its former colonies, the government has been threatening to deport and has denied public services, scores of older Caribbean-born residents who migrated to Britain between the 1940s and 70s. Having destroyed thousands of landing slip cards and other immigration documentation of the so-called Windrush Generation residents in 2010, these older residents are now experiencing difficulties with their residential status.

The records were destroyed in 2010 when Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May was serving as Home Secretary. The move came despite warnings that it would make it hard to verify the records of Caribbean-born residents.

Speaking about the database destruction, Sir Bob Kerslake, the former head of the civil service, said some government ministers described May's tenure at the Home Office as being “almost reminiscent of Nazi Germany.”

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