Nurses Migration: Ghana Healthcare Delivery at Risk.
Nurses Migration: According to the leader of one of the largest nursing organisations in the world, the hiring of nurses from low-income countries by high-income ones is “out of control.”
The remarks come as the BBC uncovers proof of Ghana’s health system’s difficulties as a result of “brain-drain.”
In search of higher-paying opportunities abroad, many specialised nurses have departed the country of West Africa.
More than 1,200 Ghanaian nurses signed up for the UK nursing registration in 2022.
This occurs when the National Health Service (NHS) progressively hires workers from outside the EU to fill open positions.
Social media makes it possible for nurses to readily notice the job openings in NHS trusts, despite the UK’s prohibition on active recruitment in Ghana.
After that, they can apply directly for such positions. A significant driving force is Ghana’s terrible economic predicament.
The International Council of Nurses’ (ICN) Howard Catton is worried about the magnitude of the numbers fleeing nations like Ghana.
According to him, things are presently out of control, he told the BBC.
The majority of our aggressive recruitment efforts are being led by six or seven high-income nations, but we are also recruiting from some of the poorest and most vulnerable nations, who cannot afford to lose its nurses.
Gifty Aryee, the chief of nursing at Greater Accra Regional Hospital, revealed to the BBC that in the past six months, 20 nurses from her Intensive Care Unit had left for the UK and the US, with serious consequences.
“Care is impacted since we can’t accept any more patients. There are delays, and the mortality cost is higher because patients pass away, she added.
She continued by saying that owing to a lack of nurses, very unwell patients frequently had to be kept in the emergency room for prolonged periods of time.
One hospital nurse believed that half of the people she graduated with had left the nation, and she intended to follow them.
The BBC discovered a same circumstance at Cape Coast Municipal Hospital.
In the last year, 22 nurses have left the hospital, according to Caroline Agbodza, deputy head of nursing services at the hospital.
“All of our skilled nurses who worked in critical care have left.” As a result, we are left with nothing and no qualified personnel.
We still have to go through the painful process of retraining nurses even if the government hires.
Staff turnover has an impact on smaller clinics as well, as the loss of just one nurse can have a significant ripple effect.
One nurse has departed the minor emergency department and another has left the outpatients section at the Ewim Health Clinic in Cape Coast. Both nurses held employment in the UK and had experience.
Dr. Justice Arthur, the facility’s head physician, claimed that the impacts were profound.
“Let’s consider services like kid vaccinations. The BBC said that if public health nurses are lost, newborns who need to be immunized will not receive them and will thus perish.
He claimed that if there weren’t enough nurses to care for adult patients after surgery, they would also perish.
The majority of the nurses the BBC team spoke with wanted to leave Ghana because they could make more money elsewhere.
Mercy Asare Afriyie said she was hoping to find a job in the UK soon at the Kwaso healthcare facility outside of Kumasi.
Because of our subpar working conditions, the nurse exodus won’t stop. Our salary is not particularly impressive, and you will have spent it in two weeks. It’s a hand-to-mouth situation.
Ghanaian nurses told the BBC that they might earn more than seven times as much in the UK as they do in their own country.
The Nurses and Midwives Association of Ghana’s Perpetual Ofori-Ampofo stated that greater assistance was required for the healthcare sector in her nation.
The ratio of professional nurses to trainee or auxiliary nurses is a concern for us, therefore if you look at the figures, it is unethical for the UK to recruit from Ghana, the woman claimed.
She said, however, that because migration was a right, it was impossible to prohibit nurses from leaving and that more needed to be done by the Ghanaian government to convince them to stay. Health ministry declined to respond.
Ghana is one of the 55 vulnerable nations listed by the World Health Organisation as having a poor ratio of nurses to population. The list, sometimes known as the “red list” by others, aims to deter systematic hiring practises in certain nations.
Recently, the UK government donated £15 million ($18.6 million) to Ghana, Nigeria, and Kenya in order to strengthen their healthcare workforces.
However, the nation is rumoured to be considering arranging a formal agreement with Ghana, in which case it could be permitted to recruit more aggressively in exchange for paying the local government a certain amount of money for each nurse.
With Nepal, it already has a comparable pact.
Mr. Catton of the ICN, however, questioned if it was sufficient.
According to him, these agreements “try to create a veneer of ethical respectability” rather than accurately represent the genuine costs to the nations losing its nurses, he told the BBC.
Jim Campbell, the WHO’s Director of Health Workforce, told the BBC that Brexit was one reason why the UK turned to African nations for nurses to fill NHS shortages.
“The labour market is extremely competitive everywhere, and we are now seeing the effects of cutting off the potential labour market from European freedom of movement in terms of drawing people from the Commonwealth and other jurisdictions.”