Imported nurses get much more for the same job

An open letter to deputies:

IN RESPECT of nurse retention/housing needs, may I suggest that you need to start giving our local nurses a better deal.

Agency nurses are employed at a much higher hourly rate (plus the recruitment agency fee) than locals and this trend must be reversed to give local ex-nurses, like myself, an incentive to return to work. Even those who come over on contracts are housed at reasonable rents and given good subsidies (relocation, free electricity, etc). I personally feel aggrieved that these ‘foreigners’ come here and are given much more for doing exactly the same job.

One suggestion is giving true local agency nurses (HSC agency to be established) tax-free earnings (to a limited amount equal to incomers’ hourly rate) status, and to encourage incoming agency staff to become ‘local’ after a limited amount of time working here by moving onto the local agency register. This would also save the States the fees paid to external recruitment agencies.

In short, the current trend must be reversed so that local nurses are awarded the same, if not more, than their non-local agency counterparts so that all local nurses feel valued. This would also have the long-term effect of encouraging the agency nurses to settle here and contribute to local living, as at present the high wages they can earn here is all they are interested in. It is a known fact that many of the agency nurses own properties in the UK and elsewhere and rent them out while also milking Guernsey. Many of them come here long-term due to the higher salaries they earn while true locals struggle.

Also, en-famille living should be reintroduced rather than agency staff being given (much needed by locals) local accommodation. This would then solve the problem you yourselves have created of there being too little accommodation available to locals. Again, the locals would be in a win-win situation by earning rental income.

So, in short, try giving locally-employed agency nurses (and all nurses) a good deal and I would think that you would find local people willing to work as agency nurses for HSC.

SUE MARSHALL

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