NHS Providers latest response to coronavirus (21.05.20)
21 May 2020
New immigration rules must not have further detrimental impact on the NHS and social care
Chief executive Chris Hopson said:
"We welcomed the news at the end of April that frontline workers with visas due to expire before 1 October 2020 will receive an automatic one-year extension and be exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge for the duration of the exemption.
"But it now appears that despite indicating that the immigration surcharge for workers joining the NHS or social care from overseas may be scrapped, the government is persisting with the charge. This would place an additional burden on already low paid health and care staff during a pandemic and when we still face significant vacancy rates across health and care.
"But one of the biggest concerns for the NHS around the changes to immigration, is the lack of focus and support for social care staff.
"Low pay, does not mean low skill and yet again this is indicative of government’s repeated failures to not invest in social care and not value the millions of people working as care workers.
"There urgently needs to be social care reform, with appropriate access to international recruitment, to get the care sector back on a sustainable footing."
Urgent action needed on social care funding, not more talk
Deputy chief executive Saffron Cordery said:
"If this announcement that there was a clear intent to dramatically improve funding for social care before the pandemic is true, then of course we welcome it.
"But this may feel too little and too late.
"Too little for the hundreds of thousands of people working in social care and those receiving it who appear to have suffered the most during the pandemic.
"Too late given so many years of underinvestment, despite repeated government promises to resolve the crisis in social care, that have taken a huge toll on the whole of the sector.
"The NHS needs there to be a social care sector that is properly funded and is given the same status as the services they provide.
"The government needs to act quickly to improve the situation for everyone working in social care and reliant on their services."