UK confirms - recruitment of Kenyan nurses still ongoing

Study for that English exam or else!

File image of nurses attending to a patient at a Kenyan hospital

The Kenyan and UK governments have released a joint statement assuring Kenyans that the recruitment of nurses to work in the UK's National Health Service (NHS) is still ongoing.

This is despite UK adding Kenya to a list of countries where there is a shortage of nurses and health workers in general.

“Adding Kenya to the amber list in the Code will protect Kenya from unmanaged international recruitment which could exacerbate existing health and social care workforce shortages. It remains a country with significant health workforce challenges,” said UK.

There has been some confusion as a story on the NHS Employers website said:

"Employers and recruitment agencies, including NHS trusts, must stop all active recruitment of health and social care personnel from Kenya to the UK with immediate effect."

On Friday, the joint statement revealed that the deal was still on as the ban on recruitment did not apply as long as it complied with the terms of a government-to-government agreement.

The statement said that the ban was aimed at stopping private companies taking advantage of increased interest "and stops uncontrolled recruitment".

Failed English tests

Kenya and Britain on July 29 signed a deal that was expected to benefit unemployed surplus medics, who would serve in the NHS before returning to Nairobi.

It was good news for more than 30,000 jobless Kenyan nurses and healthcare workers grappling with unemployment.

However, in October Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe came out to decry the failure of health workers to pass English language tests required for the jobs.

"Out of 300 health workers sent for an English language test only 10 passed. We had negotiated for clinical workers for job exports but this turn of events is unfortunate," he said.

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