Coronavirus latest: Visas for NHS doctors and paramedics extended to help fight COVID-19

Coronavirus latest: Visas for NHS doctors and paramedics extended to help fight COVID-19

Their visas will be extended free of charge for one year and restrictions on the working hours has also been lifted. The extension was announced yesterday by Home Secretary Priti Patel and will apply to around 2,800 migrant doctors, nurses and paramedics, employed by the NHS whose visas are due to expire before October 1.

The extension will not only apply to the frontline workers themselves but to their family members.

By giving them the peace of mind that they do not need to apply for a visa extension, this will allow those at the frontline to focus fully on tackling the coronavirus and saving lives.

To get more doctors and nurses on the frontline, the Home Office has also lifted the restriction on the amount of hours student nurses and doctors can work in the NHS.

On top of these changes, pre-registered overseas nurses, who are currently required to sit their first skills test within three months and to pass the test within eight months, will now have this deadline extended to the end of the year.

NHS nurse

Visas for NHS doctors and paramedics will be automatically extended to help fight COVID-19 (Image: GETTY)

Intensive care

Their visas will be extended free of charge for one year to help tackle the crisis (Image: GETTY)

This will give overseas nurses more time to pass their exams, whilst they spend the immediate term working on the frontline.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said in her statement that doctors, nurses and paramedics from all over the world are playing a leading role in the NHS’s efforts to tackle coronavirus and save lives.

She said: “I don’t want them distracted by the visa process.

“That is why I have automatically extended their visas – free of charge – for a further year.”

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Priti Patel

The extension was announced yesterday by Home Secretary Priti Patel and will apply to around 2,800 migrant doctors, nurses and paramedics (Image: GETTY)

Priti Patel said that the extension to NHS visas will be automatic, with no fee attached and it will be exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge.

“Trainee doctors and nurses will also not be limited by the number of hours they can work in the NHS during term time.” She added.

Ms Patel also clarified that extension will be exempted from the immigration health surcharge of up to £400 per year.

Home Office said that these all steps are being taken to boost the performance of NHS and to meet the target of 10,000 tests everyday.

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Priti Patel

Priti Patel said that the extension to NHS visas will be automatic, with no fee attached (Image: GETTY)

NHS

The Home Office said that these all steps are being taken to boost the performance of NHS and to meet the target of 10,000 tests per day (Image: GETTY)

The news came as as millions of items of personal protective equipment were delivered to NHS trusts on Monday.

The army was used to ensure supplies reach frontline workers in time.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing on Tuesday: “Yesterday’s deliveries of PPE included more than 2.5 million aprons, 870,000 eye protectors, 218,000 respiratory masks – they are FFP2 and FFP3 masks – one million surgical masks and 11 million gloves.

“The full weight of Government is behind the PPE efforts, with PPE being sent out 24 hours a day and the army helping with deliveries.

Social distancing

Social distancing (Image: EXPRESS)

“There have been occasional issues with deliveries being received out of hours by NHS trusts but this is what we are working on to address and resolve.”

Meanwhile, the UK has seen a plateau in the number of coronavirus cases.

Speaking at the daily Westminster press briefing, Prof Powis told reporters: “We have had a rise in the number of new UK cases but recently there is a little bit of plateau.

“It’s really important not to read too much into this. It’s early days, we’re not out of the woods, we’re very much in the woods.

Hospital

The extension will not only apply to the frontline workers themselves but to their family members (Image: GETTY)

“The number of infections is not rising as rapidly as it once was. So green shoots, but only green shoots and we must not be complacent and we must not take our foot off the pedal.”

However, despite the good news the rate of hospital admissions, Professor Powis said the rate of hospital admissions was still increasing, as was expected at this stage of the epidemic.

Though he said if the number of infections started to drop, then in the next few weeks the “hope” was that the number of admissions would also begin to fall.

A total of 1,789 patients have now died overall in UK hospitals as of 5pm on Monday, the Department of Health said.

Published at Wed, 01 Apr 2020 04:30:00 +0000