UK May Halt Recruiting Health And Medical Workers From Nigeria Under New Code

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The United Kingdom (UK) has included Nigeria among countries on the “red list” that should not be actively targeted for recruitment by health and social care employers.

This is a sequel to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) publication of a list of 55 countries, including Nigeria, facing the most pressing health workforce challenges related to universal health coverage.

In a new code by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), the UK said Nigeria and other countries on the red list should not be actively targeted for recruitment by health and social care employers unless there is a government-to-government agreement.

In the document titled ‘Code of Practice for the International Recruitment of Health and Social Care Personnel in England,’ released last month, the UK DHSC said country identification follows the methodology contained in the 10-year review of the relevance and effectiveness of the WHO global code of practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel.

“Consistent with the WHO Global Code of Practice principles and articles and as explicitly called for by the WHO Global Code of Practice 10-year review, the listed countries should be prioritised for health personnel development and health system-related support, provided with safeguards that discourage active international recruitment of health personnel.

“Countries on the list should not be actively targeted for recruitment by health and social care employers, recruitment organisations, agencies, collaborations, or contracting bodies unless there is a government-to-government agreement in place to allow managed recruitment undertaken strictly in compliance with the terms of that agreement.

“Countries on the WHO Health Workforce Support and Safeguards list are graded red in the code. If a government-to-government agreement is put in place between a partner country and a third country that restricts recruiting organisations to the terms of the agreement, the partner country is added to the amber list.”

Where recruitment is restricted solely to the terms of the government-to-government agreement, the country will appear on the Amber List. Such agreements can be designed to help regulate or mitigate against any negative impacts of health or care migrant flows to the UK. All agreements will take WHO guidance on the development of bilateral agreements into account.

Government-to-government agreements must take steps to ensure that migration to the UK does not exacerbate existing health and social care workforce shortages in the country of origin and that the country of origin derives proportional benefits as set out in the ‘Health workforce development and health systems sustainability’ section below.

The DHSC noted that “international recruitment (migrant workers, moving temporarily or permanently for employment) has made a substantial contribution to the delivery of health and social care services across the world and will continue to play a vital role in the future.

“International recruitment is one part of the UK’s long-term plan to ensure the NHS has the human resources it needs.

“Skilled and experienced health and social care personnel are a valuable resource to any country. For some low- and lower-middle-income countries, increasing the scale of health and social care worker migration threatens the achievement of national health and social care goals.

However, it stated that work is underway to support greater numbers of homegrown health and social care staff through training more staff, improving retention, and encouraging staff who have left to return in order to achieve a sustainable health and social care workforce responsive to the UK population’s needs.

It said a well-managed migration ensures that the health and social care systems of both the origin and destination countries derive benefits as set out in Health workforce development and health systems sustainability.’

It said good practice, ethical standards, respect for rights, and value for money should underpin all international recruitment activities.

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