NURSES DEAL ALREADY ON PAPER
The news follows concerns raised around a new deal between the two nations’ governments which will see unemployed nurses and health workers in Kenya given a “special route” to work in the NHS for a fixed period. The deal was brokered in July by President Uhuru Kenyatta and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. It was cemented with a grand signing of a Memorandum of understanding on healthcare facilitated by British Health and social care secretary Sajid Javid and Kenya’s cabinet secretary for Labor Cooperation Simon Chelugui at the Royal College of Physicians, with President Uhuru Kenyatta in attendance.
While in the UK, President Kenyatta also witnessed the signing of the Kenya-UK Health Alliance, a deal projected to bring together UK and Kenyan institutions to improve cancer treatment for Kenyans.
KENYAN ANGLE OF DEAL
An unidentified UK Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson boldly stated that The Government of Kenya will not receive any money from the salaries of Kenyan nurses working in the NHS scheme.
Under the agreement between the UK and Kenya, nurses will be employed by UK NHS trusts under individual contracts and their salaries will be paid directly to them.
The chief executive of the International Council of Nurses, Howard Catton, said that although he had not seen the finer details of the arrangement, he had some potential concerns. For example, Mr. Catton said there was a need to uncover why nurses in Kenya were unemployed in the first place and to work to ensure there were enough funded nursing positions in the UK to meet demand.
The deal would have been similar to the one made by Kenya and Cuba, which saw the government of Kenya get 100 Cuban doctors, with the Cuban government getting a cut.
It is not yet determined how much the nurses and the government will make, but Kenyan Health Principal Secretary Susan Mochache was scheduled to lead a delegation of senior Health and Labour officials to finalize the guidelines of the deal.
FAST TRUCKING OF VISAS TO BE EFFECTED
It has been reported that So far, over 3,000 Kenyan nurses have expressed interest in the jobs on offer and those who qualify are expected to travel to the UK mid-October. The Kenya/Cuba deal raised eyebrows as the remuneration package for the Cubans remained unclear, in a country known for not soo good deeds where a colossal amount of money is involved.
Successful applicants will have a “special route” to work in the UK. They will also be required to work in Kenya’s health sector for an agreed period of time.
The nurses who applied and travelled to the UK previously will also get an opportunity to apply for citizenship and earn 100 percent of their pay.
QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS FOR NURSES
The nurses are required to have a Bachelor’s degree in nursing from a recognized institution, a license from the Nursing Council, a valid police clearance certificate and proof that they are not employed.
The British High Commission said there would be some positive outcomes from the partnership, such as a significant amount of money being sent home by the health workers.
The health workers unions have lauded the partnership, with the Kenya National Union of Nurses secretary-general Seth Panyako saying that although it is ridiculous that the government brought in Cuban doctors in the pretext that there were not enough Kenyan doctors, it is good that they have seen the need to give unemployed nurses an opportunity.
Panyako said that the move will give nurses a chance to bring in revenue to the country and support their families back home.
Kenya Union of Clinical Officers secretary-general George Gibore has said that he hopes clinical officers will soon get an opportunity to apply to work in the UK, noting that there are about 25,000 registered officers and only a paltry 7,000 of them are employed by the Kenyan government.