Expecting to rely on the international labour market cannot be the long-term solution to our health and care staffing crisis. That merely exacerbates the problem in the health and care health systems of countries we drain of qualified staff and talent, and no amount of foreign aid can make up for that.
The long-term solution must be structured investment in the sector, preferably starting two decades ago. Early careers advice in schools, identifying pathways for youngsters not sure what to do with their lives; an attractive salary, capable of keeping employees engaged; a reorientation of what society considers value in the twenty-first century.
I celebrate equality and diversity of opportunity. I wish our international carers, nurses, doctors and social workers all the best in their careers in the UK.
But policymakers must be mindful, as watch news reports of collapsing healthcare systems “over there”, struggling to cope with medical emergencies, that the decisions we make to poach professionals from elsewhere may be the direct or indirect cause of disaster.
Give Britain’s youth something better to aspire to than the cult of celebrity. If Britain’s got talent, let us see it.