Letter: Nursing grievances (1)

May 18, 2001

Your article "UK cuts funding for foreign nurses" ( THES , May 11) portrays the issue as being solely about a crisis of staffing in the National Health Service. But there are two even more important dimensions to this issue that none of the commentators addressed.

One is the fact that "overseas" (usually black and minority) nurses are likely, as they have been since the NHS was set up, to find themselves underpaid, underpromoted and undervalued in relation to their white counterparts.

The other is that draining skills from less prosperous countries is weakening their already far poorer healthcare systems.

The policy of recruiting and training "overseas" healthcare staff to work in the NHS is at odds with the government's policy of building capacity in these countries through its development aid programme. We could do with some "joined-up" government here.

Gary Craig
Professor of social justice
University of Hull

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