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Examination of Witnesses

Part of Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 12th February 2019.

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Professor Dame Donna Kinnair:

I will just put in that 11% of our registered nurse workforce in the UK are non-EEA nationals and 5% are EEA nationals. So that is a combination of about 90,000 to 120,000 nurses.

On the impact of raising the retirement age for nurses, nursing is a very physically demanding job. There is an anticipation—people are already talking about this, but I suspect we will have nurses on zimmer frames pushing patients on zimmer frames if we continue to carry on in this manner. Nursing is a very physically demanding job and you also have to be mentally on the ball to give the drugs and the care; it is quite a high-pressured environment. So it sounds very easy—“Let’s just raise the retirement age”—but people physically need to have the stamina to be able to deliver the care to patients, whether it is in their homes or in hospitals.

My view, and I have written about this, is that raising the retirement age is something we do with great caution for the nursing community. One plank is bringing back people who are retired to fill the gaps we currently have, but that can only suffice for a small percentage, because nurses, too, are subject to the long-term conditions and all the other things that the general population is prone to.