IPEM writes to Home Secretary about NHS Visa Scheme

THE presidents of six Royal Colleges, learned societies and professional bodies – led by IPEM – have written to the Home Secretary seeking clarification about the NHS visa scheme.

Professor Stephen O’Connor, IPEM’s President, took the initiative to write to the Right Honourable Priti Patel MP about the scheme to be introduced now the United Kingdom has left the European Union.

This was a proposal included in the Conservative Party manifesto for the December 2019 general election, which promised ‘overseas qualified doctors, nurses and allied health professionals with a job offer from the NHS, who have been trained to a recognised standard, and who have good working English, will be offered fast-track entry, reduced visa fees and dedicated support to come to the UK with their families.’

The letter is seeking clarification that allied healthcare professionals within this visa scheme will include medical physicists, clinical and biomedical engineers as well as diagnostic and therapeutic radiographers.

It has been co-signed by the presidents of the Academy for Healthcare Science, the British Institute of Radiology, the Royal College of Physicians, the Royal College of Radiographers and the Society of Radiographers.

The letter states: ‘These groups are an essential, but often hidden, part of the multidisciplinary healthcare workforce. They play a vital role in ensuring the safe and efficient use of modern healthcare technology for prevention, diagnosis and treatment. A radiotherapy service, for example, could not function without these personnel, who are key to the delivery of successful clinical patient outcomes.

‘These roles are also shortage occupations, with vacancy rates between 5 and 11 per cent. This shortfall cannot be redressed within the next five years with the current levels of training. Contribution to the workforce from immigration is therefore essential and we are concerned they may not be included in the manifesto pledge.'

Home Secretary letter