On 28 August 2018, Dr. Nicola Gillin of the Anglia Ruskin University (Cambridge) delivered a lecture based on her Ph.D. dissertation examining nursing culture and patient care between United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU)/overseas nurses. Dr. Gillin is currently in the country to continue her research on Filipino nurses in the UK, looking more deeply into their motivations for working in the UK and its impact on the family unit in the Philippines. In her presentation, she shared the trends of migration of Filipino nurses into the UK through time and how this is affected by the recent Brexit referendum.
The UK has had numerous instances of shortages in their nursing workforce. They began recruiting nurses overseas in the 19th century through their British colonies in Africa and in the Caribbean. In the 1960s, through the establishment of the National Health Service (NHS), the UK formed partnerships with other overseas countries including the Philippines and thus began the migration of Filipino nurses into the UK. Data shows that since the 1960s, there has been a steady and consistent number of Filipino nurses in the UK, with very few of them leaving the UK or going back to the Philippines. Filipinos are now the second most common nationality in the United Kingdom’s nursing workforce, second only to UK-born nurses. Dr. Gillin argues that this will not be affected by the Brexit vote and the UK may even open more opportunities for Filipino nurses.
Data from the UK Health Foundation shows that after the Brexit vote in June 2016, there was a sudden drop in EU nurses coming in the UK. It was presumed that the Brexit vote caused this but Dr. Gillin poses differently. Dr. Gillin explains that what might have caused this is a new policy which requires EU nurses to take a language test that will be implemented on July 2016. Aside from the Health Foundation statistics, surveys conducted in several NHS Trusts also show that after the Brexit vote, most of them ceased recruitment drives in the EU and switched to other countries such as the Philippines, India, and Dubai (in the United Arab Emirates). How much Brexit plays into the overseas recruitment drive of the nursing workforce in the UK is still inconclusive, but the response to this opens more doors to nurses outside the EU.
This lecture was co-organized with the UP Department of Political Science and with the participation of the Philippine Social Science Council and the Philippine Migration Research Network.