Workforce Planning Has Never Been More Important, Says Royal College Of Nursing, UK
Following the decision to restrict the entry of overseas nurses to the UK, the RCN is calling on the Government to invest in robust workforce planning measures to ensure any decisions affecting thez nursing workforce will be beneficial in the long term.

Whilst the RCN acknowledges that reducing the future number of overseas nurses may provide some posts for home grown students this still remains a short term solution. The longer term answer must be a comprehensive system for workforce planning across the whole UK health sector. This would ensure that the gaps in knowledge about the workforce are filled and underlying trends can be monitored, including movement of healthcare workers between countries and different health sectors.

Developing these systems of workforce planning, would create an explicit and transparent way of assessing the true balance between overseas and home grown staff, ensuring that the correct equilibrium is achieved to the benefit of patients, staff and the healthcare system as a whole.

As part of this integrated system of workforce planning, the RCN is calling on the Government to accurately track the number of overseas nurses currently working in the UK. This would ensure that any decisions to restrict their entry to the UK would be made to the benefit of the healthcare system both now and in the future - rather than just a short term measure to ease current difficulties.

The RCN is concerned that the short lead in time for these proposals of only six weeks will create anxiety for those overseas nurses already working in this country. The RCN will be actively monitoring, advising and supporting these nurses.

Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is the voice of nursing across the UK and is the largest professional union of nursing staff in the world. The RCN promotes the interest of nurses and patients on a wide range of issues and helps shape healthcare policy by working closely with the UK Government and other national and international institutions, trade unions, professional bodies and voluntary organisations.