Friday, March 26, 2004

St. Lca: Stemming the brain drain

“A number of nurses are looking for jobs in the UK,” a disgruntled 24-year-old told the STAR in an interview. “There are certain agencies in England that process applications and recruit nurses from the Caribbean when there are openings. But I found out that the UK government has a law where we can no longer be employed by government-owned institutions in the UK.”

According to the young woman, when rumors surfaced that the St Lucia government had tried to stem the tide of nurses seeking employment in the UK, she called West Maria, one of the UK’s recruitment agencies, just to be sure. She was, after all, one of those who had applied and was awaiting favorable results.

A recruiting agent informed her that the company could no longer process their applications. An order released by the UK government informed the company that it was no longer allowed to recruit nurses from the Caribbean. The company, which had not been aware of the order before has since acceded to state demands.

According to BBC reports, a few years ago, the National Health Service (NHS) of the UK was accused of “poaching” nurses from developing countries to fill its vacancies. Consequently, in 1999, the Department of Health banned NHS trusts from recruiting nurses from South Africa and Caribbean countries where there are nursing shortages.

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