NHS overseas workers day shines a spotlight on uncertainty

HCSA was proud to support the first ever Overseas NHS Workers Day on 5th March to help celebrate the extraordinary contributions made by international staff during the pandemic. 

The day was organised by Doctors Association UK (DAUK) to raise awareness of how many international NHS staff still face uncertainty about how long they can remain in the UK.

The NHS relies on approximately 1.3 million staff with 170,000 from overseas. Many have visas to allow them to live and work in the UK but some only last a year, making planning for the future impossible. 

Explaining HCSA's decision to support the day, President Dr Claudia Paoloni said: “Thousands of overseas colleagues still face an uncertain future due to government reluctance to grant indefinite leave to remain. 

“This is a national injustice and it could be resolved quickly if there was the will and we urge the government to show that will.”

Between March and December last year, 883 health and social care workers in England and Wales died from Covid-19. Despite this, international NHS workers continued to turn up for work each day.

Dr Pushpo Hossain from DAUK said: “DAUK was extremely proud to lead on this initiative to celebrate the diversity, companionship and strength our international staff bring to the NHS by observing the first ever Overseas NHS Workers Day.

“We want to applaud the contribution of our overseas colleagues during the pandemic and raise awareness of some of the issues they face as international staff.”

Other organisations including The Royal College of Physicians, British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, Royal College of Surgeons and Unison also backed the event, along with many NHS organisations around the country, who took to social media to show their support, by wearing blue and green and holding a minute's silence for those who lost their lives to Covid-19.

Social media was also a huge success on the day with 33,000 people reached on Facebook, 543 accounts reached on Instagram and 120,000 on Twitter.