Amid Windrush scandal, Britain lures more nurses from Jamaica

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The British Government has announced another recruitment drive to fill thousands of vacancies in its National Health Services (NHS) by luring nurses from Jamaica, despite the embarrassing scandal over the deportation of Windrush generation Britons after working and paying taxes for decades in the UK.

The British Government says that in the second phase of the "earn, learn, return" partnerships, Jamaican nurses will go to work in the NHS for a fixed term of around three years and then return with new skills and experience. The scheme is intended to increase the NHS workforce by 5,500 full-time nurses and help address a record 34,000 unfilled nursing and midwifery posts across the health service in England.

In November last year ministers announced the scheme's first partnership with India and the aim of recruiting 500 nurses by March, though the Department of Health could not immediately confirm if that had been achieved. But nursing chiefs said it was a short-term solution to staffing shortages caused by years of pay restraint and the removal of bursaries for new nurse trainees, and said urgent investment was needed in the UK training.

They added that Jamaican nurses were already very highly trained, and usually have at least four years training compared to three in the NHS, and said perhaps English staff would have more to learn from them. However, the Department of Health said the programme will support the Jamaican government in improving the knowledge and capability of its staff, particularly in areas like emergency medicine and intensive care.

The new deal comes during a week in which Prime Minister Theresa May and Home Secretary Amber Rudd have come under significant pressure for threatening to deport British residents who arrived from the Commonwealth before 1973, and their descendants who cannot prove their residency status. That threat has now been withdrawn due to huge domestic and internaitonal pressure.