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11.05.2004 Diaspora News

Monthly Salary: From £80 to £1,400

By PA News
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Nurses Leaving Families Behind to Come to UK Families are being split up with the exodus of nurses from the developing world to the UK. Many are coming in search of pay more than triple what they could earn in their own countries.
But at the same time they are paying a heavy price by leaving husbands and children behind.
Matthew Tay, a mental health nurse from Ghana, faced the pain of leaving his family behind when he came to the UK five years ago.
And he said it was not proving easy to bring his wife and two children to live with him here now.
Matthew came to the UK five years ago. In Ghana he was on a sabbatical working both as a union representative and on behalf of a minister.
He decided to trade his higher position for the promise of better pay in the UK.
Matthew, 38, now works for Barnet, Enfield and Haringey Mental Health Trust and says his pay now is much higher than what he was getting at home.
He now earns about £1,400 a month – compared to just £80 when he was in Ghana.
“It seems like a big difference.
“But once you have paid the rent and petrol for your car the difference is eroded,” he said.
Matthew said he would like to return home at some point but said it would not be easy.
“It is difficult to fit in with the system.
“We do not have the same facilities and attitudes to mental health in place at home,” he said.
Matthew said that the NHS “definitely” relied on overseas nurses to run.
He said he had worked in intensive care for around two years and 80% of the time had found himself in charge of the ward. Most nurses who return to Ghana after working in the UK find it difficult to fit back into the system, he said.
"There are a variety of issues that make it difficult to go back¿political, the use of the law, patients rights, nurses rights.
"I may go back but the question is am I going back to nursing because of all of those issues."
Those who decide to stay in the UK do not necessarily get equitably rewarded.
"I've been a nurse for 13 years. I'm well qualified. But then you come over [here] all of this is not recognised.
"We have a wealth of experience but then we are all stuck at the bottom and one out of 10 might move up but the majority stay at the bottom."
"I work in acute psychiatric care. For 80% of the time I was in charge of the ward and yet I'm still an E-grade."

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