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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.”


About The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

RCSEd (www.rcsed.ac.uk) was first incorporated in as the Barber Surgeons of Edinburgh in 1505, and is one of the oldest surgical corporations in the world with memberships approaching 25,000 over 100 countries worldwide. The College promotes the highest standards of surgical and dental practice through its examinations, and is also increasingly involved in the provision of surgical training and education, offering the UK’s only Faculty of Surgical Trainers, open to all those with an interest in surgical training regardless of College affiliation. RCSEd’s commercial enterprises offer conferencing and event facilities at The Playfair Building, Symposium Hall and Quincentenary Hall, and runs the Ten Hill Place Hotel.

Find RCSEd on Twitter www.twitter.com/RCSEd and on Facebook www.facebook.com/rcsed

The College is based at Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DW and can be reached on (0)131 527 1600 or mail@rcsed.ac.uk.

For communications and media enquiries contact the Communications Department on (0)131 527 1594 or comms@rcsed.ac.uk

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