‘Widening worker pool would help health care’

WIDENING the island's employment pool to anywhere in the world will only help get more health care workers if there is enough housing, Health & Social Care president Al Brouard has said.

Health & Social Care president Al Brouard. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 31285036)
Health & Social Care president Al Brouard. (Picture by Luke Le Prevost, 31285036)

His committee was commenting in response to Home Affairs’ immigration and population proposals, which include a ‘flagship policy’ to allow required staff to be employed from anywhere across the world rather than just the UK and EU.

Deputy Brouard said HSC welcomed being able to recruit from a wider pool of workers.

‘However, the benefit will likely only be realised if there is sufficient key worker accommodation for them to live in,’ he said.

‘Further, there are existing concerns at the length of time currently being taken for UK visas to be granted, and it is anticipated that opening up the recruitment process to a wider pool of workers would add further strain to this process and cause additional delay.’

Deputy Brouard said his committee understood that the conflict in Ukraine has resulted in the fast-tracking process being removed, but wanted to flag its concerns so Home Affairs could deal with them.

HSC has no staff on short-term employment permits who have been in the island for more than three years, and all relevant HSC roles would qualify for a long-term employment permit.

Deputy Brouard said this was a positive step and would add some certainty to the recruitment processes.

But this would also have some financial implications as anyone appointed from outside the island on an employment permit would qualify for relocation assistance under current policy.

‘By adding more roles to the list of long-term employment permit eligibility, whether through alignment with the UK or the removal of the medium term employment permit, there would be additional costs, especially as rent allowance has recently been increased by a further two years,’ Deputy Brouard said.

‘It is not clear from the policy letter whether the existing process of applying for permits only when there is no one suitable for the role with local residential qualifications will continue, if not then this will add to the financial impact further.’

Deputy Brouard also raised the importance of an increase in key worker housing, saying it was of critical importance to his committee.

‘The need to be able to provide housing of sufficient quantity and quality for health and care staff to enable our services to be delivered effectively is well-known and housing provision is a constant obstacle to attracting workers,’ he said.

‘The need for key worker housing is only going to increase as the population ages and puts additional demand on health and care services.’

The committee has been working to train and develop staff on-island, as those already resident tend to have longer periods of retention and do not require key worker accommodation.

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