Strong Cooperation is required to support health professionals

Mr Satoshi Sasaki, Deputy Director, ILO DWT – New Delhi, provided opening remarks at the roundtable discussion on ‘Allied Health Professionals Mobility India-UK’.

Statement | New Delhi, India | 17 August 2021
Respected Additional Secretary, Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Government of India, Ms Juthika Patankar,

Chief People Officer, NHS, Government of UK, Ms. Prerana Issar,

Representatives from UK government and Ministries in India,

Employers and recruiters,

Trainers and experts

Distinguished participants,

It is our pleasure to share this platform with the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, and India Centre for Migration (ICM) – a think tank of the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs. It is the honour for the ILO to support this multi-stakeholder engagement on “Global health goals through the mobility of health professionals” with the objective to further partnership between UK and India.

ILO attempts to strengthen the understanding of stakeholders on the potential and options for supporting different countries to assess the skills requirements of allied health professionals. Health services are one of the core sectors in a society. They are positively related to well-being of people and productivity of an economy. Health is one of fundamental principles of the human right and the role of health workers and their contributions are paramount in this regard.

The COVID-19 pandemic has further brought to fore their significance in a situation, which is continuously challenged. This means education and training system will need to adjust to the changing realities of the health sector. There is also a need to adapt a flexible delivery system, including a demand driven curriculum and student assessments that prepares health workers for different emerging needs. The mutual recognition of qualifications and skills is critically important in the mobility of skilled health care workers for a quality and affordable health care service delivery.

The ILO supports improvement of working conditions and labour relations in the health sector through sectoral labour standards and social dialogue. We collaborate with WHO to promote supportive, enabling and healthy work environments for the health workers. Along with OCED and WHO, the ILO has launched an International Platform on Health Worker Mobility to advance knowledge and cooperation among the stakeholders. The platform has supported the WHO Global Code of Practice on the International Recruitment of Health Personnel by convening Member States, national regulatory bodies, employers’ organizations, trade unions, certification agencies and relevant international organizations.

While countries recover from the pandemic and face shortages of health workers, UK and India are no exceptions; a better understanding of the skills and mobility of health care workers will only be beneficial in the long-term. We believe such a dialogue with stakeholders at multiple levels in the health sector will help both countries in enhancing the quality of their allied health professionals, supporting and coordinating with each other to upskill and train health workers to the highest standards and provide opportunities for them to explore mobility.

Strong cooperation in this area will have lasting impact on health indicators of both countries as well as the workers themselves. While the Government of UK and India are engaging on this issue bilaterally, the objective of today’s consultation is to help inform the Indian government of the emerging issues regarding the mobility of health professionals from India to UK. Your participation today will assist the Indian government to understand the various stakeholders and the context in which Indian health workers operate in UK.

I wish all the best with the deliberations today and look forward fruitful engagement between India and UK in due course on health care sector.