RCSEd President Statement on the Problem of NHS Staff Stranded Overseas

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09 Apr 2020

Commenting on the problem of NHS staff stranded overseas by the Coronavirus pandemic, Professor Michael Griffin OBE, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh said:

“The NHS is facing unparalleled demand, so needs each and every resource available to meet the COVID-19 crisis.

Having appropriate numbers of skilled staff is paramount, so we note with concern reports of NHS staff being stranded overseas and unable to return.

There is currently no prioritisation for NHS staff when it comes to repatriation, either on the remaining commercial flights or on charter flights arranged by the government. Further these flights are often too expensive for NHS staff to book at short notice given that many have not as yet had their pre-existing cancelled flights refunded.

Therefore whilst we welcome the government’s commitment to bringing UK nationals stranded abroad home through a £75m package for charter flights, we need to see efforts redoubled.

We are therefore calling upon the UK government to work with airlines to prioritise the return of NHS staff on both remaining commercial flights and on the charter flights which have been arranged. Further, we call upon the UK government to fund those repatriation flight costs for NHS staff who are unable to afford the cost themselves

The NHS is performing small miracles in response to the Coronavirus pandemic and. NHS staff stranded abroad are desperate to return to play their part in dealing this crisis.”


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