Stronger ethical approach to recruitment of health and care workers

4 March 2021

The UK has decided to align with advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO) on ethical recruitment to promote effective, fair and sustainable international recruitment practices in the health and care sectors.

The updated code of practice (CoP), which aims to help to meet the Government’s target of delivering 50,000 more nurses by 2024, sets out how UK health and social care employers can ethically recruit from overseas.

The revised code can be found here.

It sets out the UK’s approach to supporting health and social care systems and workforce, alongside safeguards on active recruitment from countries with the most pressing universal health coverage related health and social care workforce needs.

Based on the principles set out in the WHO global code of practice on the international recruitment of health personnel, it refers to the WHO Health Workforce Support and Safeguard List of 47 countries which must not be actively targeted by health or social care recruiters unless there is a government-to-government agreement in place to allow managed recruitment.

These countries include: Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Ghana, Mali, Liberia, Nepal, Pakistan, Benin and Bangladesh.

Minister for Care Helen Whateley said: “We will work with countries all over the world to promote the best standards of ethical recruitment of health and social care staff and I look forward to welcoming more incredible talent to the UK.”

The CoP clearly sets out responsibilities for recruiters, employers and the Government on how to maintain ethical recruitment on an ongoing basis, she continued, and will ensure countries with the weakest health systems are protected.