Ghana Health System In Danger: International Council of Nurses Warns About Mass Exodus Of Ghanaian Nurses

Ghana Health System In Danger: International Council of Nurses Warns About Mass Exodus Of Ghanaian Nurses

  • Ghana has been warned about the constant annual flight of Ghanaian nurses to the UK and the US in huge numbers
  • The International Council of Nurses told the BBC that Ghana's health system could pay a great price in the coming years if the situation persists
  • According to the ICN, Ghanaian patients are most at risk of the situation that has been triggered by poor working conditions for health workers in Ghana

The International Council of Nurses (ICN), one of the largest nursing groups in the world, has warned that the rate at which Ghanaian nurses are moving out of Ghana to the UK and the US spells doom for Ghana's health system.

Chief executive officer of ICN Howard Catton has told the BBC that number of Ghanaian patients could begin paying the big price for the mass exodus of local nurses to the West for better pay and opportunities.

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"The situation currently is out of control," he described the situation that ICN has been monitoring for sometime now.
International Council of Nurses Ghana's health system risk collapse over mass exodus of nurses to UK
A creative image of a health worker behind the Ghana flag and a group of Ghanaian female nurses captured at an event in Ghana. Source: Facebook/@utvghana, Getty Images.
Source: UGC

UK has said it is not actively recruiting in Ghana, however, social media now enables nurses to easily see the vacancies available in NHS trusts and apply for jobs.

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Ghana cannot afford to lose its nurses

He told the BBC there is usually intense recruitment by at least six high-income Western countries from countries like Ghana and other African countries.

Catton said countries like Ghana and others on the continent are already weak, vulnerable and can ill-afford to lose their nurses.

For a long time, the UK's National Health Service (NHS) has increasingly been relying on staff from non-EU countries to fill vacancies.

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For Ghana, the situation is taking a heavy toll on the health system.

Every year, many specialist nurses leave Ghana for better-paid jobs overseas. A House of Commons report has found more than 3,000 health professionals left Ghana for the UK in each of the three years to 2021.

According to the BBC, in 2022, 1,200 nurses left Ghana to the UK for better working conditions.

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Nurse-for-cash agreement between Ghana and the United Kingdom announced in Ghana's Parliament

These concerns by the ICN notwithstanding, health minister Kweku Agyeman-Manu announced in December 2022 that Ghana plans to send registered nurses to the United Kingdom for cash.

The minister told Parliament on December 5, 2022, that Ghana could make £1,000 for each nurse sent to the UK.

He disclosed that there are ongoing bilateral talks between Ghana and UK to introduce a similar deal already in existence between Ghana and Barbados.

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