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India, UK sign agreement that will directly benefit tens of thousands of healthcare workers from India

BELFAST: India and the UK have signed an agreement that will directly benefit tens of thousands of healthcare workers from India. The two governments are working together to have an agreement in place that will benefit nurses looking for work in India, the UK, and Northern Ireland, as well as professional qualifiers and international students studying health-related courses.

The new agreement was formed in recognition of the long-standing relationship between India, the UK and Northern Ireland and the contribution of Indian professionals to the healthcare settings of these two countries.

Based on mutual understanding, those who have completed the Indian Senior Secondary School/Pre-University Certificate Examinations will be given the opportunity to enter higher education institutions in the UK and will be considered for admission to specific institutions or programs as per the criteria.

The agreement is aimed at building the capacity of healthcare workers in all sectors along with working together and sharing skills and ideas.

Will ensure greater opportunity and recognition in nursing

The agreement will work by trusting each country’s regulatory bodies in nursing. This agreement will also assure mutual agreement on the qualifications, licencing, and registration procedures for various categories within 12 months of its coming into force.

Each regulator will adopt mechanisms to identify each country’s requirements and act accordingly. The UK and Northern Ireland will acknowledge improved nursing training in Indian states. Actions for this will be taken in collaboration with the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare through the concerned states and training institutes.

Specialty training

Standards of training and English language proficiency will be determined based on current standards in the UK and Northern Ireland. The UK and Northern Ireland will develop nursing specialty training including mental health, critical care, trauma and emergency care, palliative care, community care and neonatal intensive care.

Both will further enhance the training and recruitment of allied health professionals from India through agreements with its training institutes, government departments, agencies and regulators. Training will be enhanced in occupational therapy, dietician, radiography (medical radiology, imaging and therapeutic technology) and operating department practitioners.

Apart from this, there will be provision for better training in medical laboratory and life sciences, physiotherapy, ophthalmic science professions, community care, behavioral health and other similar professions, medical technologists and physician assistants, health information management and health informatics.

Language Proficiency

A new working group set up as part of the agreement is also examining whether existing standards for English language proficiency should be eased. It is suggested in the general agreement that the working groups should make the information available within six months.

Registration process will be streamlined

Streamlining the registration process and mapping skills and expertise are also part of the agreement. Cooperation and training will also be provided to fill skill gaps. Data on skill shortages of all professional categories related to health services will also be shared with India. There will also be plans to bridge these gaps together.

As part of this, workshops will be organized between training institutes in UK and India.  The action plan will be developed with applicants in India and employers in the UK and Northern Ireland to facilitate the transition to work in the National Health Service.

Joint training and education facilities will be developed in India and the UK with the goal of improving education, language training, and training opportunities.

The agreement will come into effect with the signing of the Memorandum of Association by various institutions in India and the UK. Once the reports of the working groups are approved, the project will be implemented.

The MoU has been signed by the Joint Secretary, Ministry of Medical Education/Nursing, Health and Family Welfare on behalf of the Government of India and the Permanent Secretary, Department of Health and Social Care on behalf of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

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