Responding to the announcement that a free one-year visa extension will be given to eligible healthcare workers and their dependants, Layla McCay, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said: “It is absolutely imperative that the NHS is able to continue to access talent from overseas to bolster the workforce, as the backlog of treatment caused by the pandemic grows. This is alongside other demands for care such as mental health needs and long COVID, as well as tackling COVID itself.
“This further visa extension will help somewhat, and it should also go some way towards recognising the vital contribution our overseas staff make. However, to alleviate the chronic workforce shortages in the health service, the NHS still needs a fully funded, long-term workforce strategy.
“Furthermore, we remain deeply concerned that care worker roles are not included, as there are also huge shortages across that sector, and it is well-established that a strong social care sector helps to support a strong NHS.”