Today the Government announced that NHS staff and care workers from overseas are to be exempt from paying a surcharge to use the health service. It also said families of all foreign NHS and care workers who have died with coronavirus will be able to stay in the UK permanently.
Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:
“While many NHS organisations have paid the immigration health surcharge for overseas staff, this U-turn from the Government sends a positive message that their work is appreciated and that they are both valued and welcome. We also strongly support the confirmation from ministers that the families of all foreign NHS and care workers who have died with coronavirus will be able to stay in the UK permanently.
“The pandemic has shone a spotlight on the vital role of key workers across the NHS and wider public services and so it is heartening that the Government has listened and responded.
“Health leaders will need to see the details of how the surcharge will be paid for and that additional funds will be made available as it could leave the NHS with a significant funding gap at a time that we need its services more than ever before.
“We must also now go further and design an immigration system that allows our colleagues in social care to recruit the care workers they so desperately need.”