The Ministry of Health in conjunction with the British High Commission have flagged off the first batch of Kenyan 19 nurses to work at the United Kingdom’s (UK) National Health Service (NHS).
This follows a bilateral agreement that was signed between Kenya and the UK in 2021 by President Uhuru Kenyatta and the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnston.
The agreement facilitates the deployment of qualified but unemployed nurses to the UK National Health Service (NHS) in line with the UK’s Code of Practice on International Recruitment and the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel.
Speaking during the flagging- off at the Ministry of Health headquarters, Health Cabinet Secretary (CS) Mutahi Kagwe said that the programme is expected to benefit many families and contribute to the country’s economy.
“The Ministry of Health in conjunction with the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Kenya Medical Training College has seen the first process of government-to-government labour contract actualized and, in the future, playing a key role in improving the economy of our country,” he said.
He added that many countries have shown interest in acquiring nurses from Kenya like the Italian government which has already signed an agreement to have nurses from Kenya and the government of Kuwait, who have requested to have nurses sent to Kuwait.
“Over 11,000 nurses’ graduate yearly in Kenya and as a government we would like to see our many trained nurses with jobs,” Kagwe said.
He announced that the Ministry of Health will set up a task force that will deal with all international recruitments for the health workforce to ensure the process of recruitment and onboarding in different countries continues without delay.
In her remarks, the British High Commissioner Ambassador Jane Marriot said that other 70 nurses have already been identified by potential employers in the UK with a view to moving them to the UK in the next two to three months.
She lauded all the nurses who secured an employment offer after being interviewed for positions at the Oxford University Hospital Trust portraying high quality and competence.
“We would have liked to see a higher number of nurses being part of this flag off, but it made sense to start with 19 Kenya nurses with only one UK employer, to ensure the right systems and guidelines are in place before scaling it up to more employers,” Marriot said.
She mentioned that not only 300 NHS potential employers in the UK will engage in the employment of Kenyan nurses, but also the remaining employers will engage in the recruitment once more Kenyan nurses are in the recruitment pipeline.
“We hope Kenya will put in place a system of rolling applications to meet the expected high demand. In time, this arrangement will expand beyond nurses to other cadres of healthcare workers,” said Marriot.
She commended the Ministry of Health, the Nursing Council of Kenya, the UK Department for Health and Social Care, the Oxford University Hospital Trust and the British High Commission in Kenya for their immense hard work in making it possible for the nurses to achieve their dreams of working in the UK.