Category Archives: Medical News

Pace of NHS Reform may cause ‘brain drain’

The Health Select Committee report said that “While such a ‘surprise’ approach is not necessarily wrong, it does increase the level of risk involved in policy implementation. It allows less time to understand complexity and detail, and less time to develop and explain policy; and it leads to less understanding of objectives by staff, patients and local communities. A successful ‘surprise’ strategy requires clarity and planning, but the committee does not think that the white paper reflected these qualities. There appears to have been insufficient detail about methods and structures during the transitional phase.”

The reforms are due to take place at a time when the National Health Service (NHS) is expected to achieve £20 Billion in efficiency savings. The Chairman of the British Medical Association’s GPs committee went on to say that “Like the Health Committee, the BMA believes that clinically-led commissioning has the potential to improve both the efficiency of the health service and the care provided to patients. However, we too are very concerned about the scale and pace of these reforms, coming as they do when the National Health Service also has to find up to £20 billion in efficiency savings. The speed of the reforms means Primary Care Trusts are imploding as staff leave in droves, and those managers who are left are focused on delivering the reforms rather than efficiency savings and the maintenance of patient care.”

NHS Reform Plans

  • All 10 Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) abolished
  • All 152 Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) abolished
  • General Practitioners (GPs) given responsibility for managing hospital, mental health & community services
  • Patients given more performance related information by a new body called HealthWatch
  • Patients given control of their Medical Records
  • All NHS Trusts achieve Foundation Status by 2013

The abolition of Strategic Health Authorities and Primary Care Trusts will affect more than 60,000 managers and in their place hundreds of GP consortiums will be created and given the responsibility for much of the £105bn health budget. The bottom up rather than top down reorganisation has been called ‘the most radical change in NHS history’.

Commonwealth Contractors

Commonwealth Contractors is a collection of highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with OISC Registered Immigration Partners capable of professionally representing a Tier 1 Visa Application / Extension and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a doctor on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit).

Commonwealth Contractors also provides updates on UK Immigration News. To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partners.

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IT to revolutionise UK Healthcare system

  1. E-Power to the Patient: The emergence of smart-phones will not only enable patients to take the reins when it comes to their health records but also allow for at home monitoring to take place which will allow for earlier detection of medical problems.
  2. Earlier Detection: By diagnosing ailments quicker Doctors will be able to catch problems at an earlier stage thereby potentially reducing costs
  3. High Tech Healing: Cutting edge technologies which internally monitor patients will be developed that will send notifications of when pills have been swallowed, order further pills etc
  4. Resources: More, but different: Smartphone enabled patient coaching, robotic care assistants etc will give patients greater access to healthcare resources
  5. Global Healthcare Ecosystem Emerges: Global data systems will make it easier for medical professionals to collaborate and share new ideas.

Commonwealth Contractors

Commonwealth Contractors is a collection of highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with OISC Registered Immigration Partners capable of professionally representing a Tier 1 Visa Application / Extension and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a doctor on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). Commonwealth Contractors also provides updates on UK Immigration News.

To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partners.

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iPhone App lets users rate NHS services and keep track of records & appointments

It will be interesting to see how the new app fares with future NHS IT developments. Earlier in the year the Coalition Government announced plans to hand more power to patients by setting up an online patient portal which would give patients access to medical records, give them details of doctors appointments and provide a secure environment from which patients could view the results of tests. Any future NHS developments are expected to be introduced in 2-3 years therefore the Wellnote app may provide developers with key information on how users interact with a Healthcare Information Technology system.

Commonwealth Contractors

Commonwealth Contractors is a collection of highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with OISC Registered Immigration Partners capable of professionally representing a Tier 1 Visa Application / Extension and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a doctor on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). Commonwealth Contractors also provides updates on UK Immigration News.

To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partner

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Efficiency savings will push NHS to breaking point

In the report the Health Select Committee said that \”The health settlement represents a significant challenge to the NHS, requiring efficiency savings on an unprecedented scale. It is vital that these savings are made by efficiency gains rather than making cuts. Unfortunately, we do not believe that the Government is providing a clear enough narrative on its vision of how these savings are to be made. The evidence submitted to us, including the evidence submitted by the Government itself, does not allow us to agree. Councils will need to sustain further efficiency savings of up to 3.5% per annum to avoid reducing their levels of care, and this will not be easy. It is not enough for the Government to exhort change in this area: there must be a formal policy infrastructure that recognises the importance of achieving a better overall interface between the two sectors’’.

However the Department of Health responded by saying \”The Government is committed to the NHS – to sustain and to improve services in the face of a tough economic climate. But even with this commitment, in order to meet demand and improve the quality of services, the NHS needs to make up to £20 billion of efficiency savings by 2015. Reform isn\’t an option, it\’s a necessity in order to sustain and improve our NHS. We have been clear that the NHS must cut back on bureaucracy, not on frontline care.\”

Stephen Dorrell, a Conservative MP said that \”The Government\’s plans for health and social care are based on assumptions which will test these services to the limit. There is no precedent for efficiency gain on this scale in the history of the National Health Service, nor has any precedent yet been found of any healthcare system anywhere in the world doing anything similar.\”

Earlier National Health Service (NHS) bosses warned that the Coalition Governments plans to drastically reform the Health system in the United Kingdom are proceeding at a dangerous pace and the system could ‘’implode’’ over the pace of the Governments reform plans. Earlier in the year the Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, announced radical changes to the way the National Health Service will operate in the future with; all 10 Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) abolished, all 152 Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) abolished, patients given more performance related information by a new body called HealthWatch, all NHS Trusts achieve Foundation Status by 2013 and General Practitioners (GPs) given responsibility for managing hospital, mental health & community services.

Commonwealth Contractors

Commonwealth Contractors is a collection of highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with OISC Registered Immigration Partners capable of professionally representing a Tier 1 Visa Application / Extension and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a doctor on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). Commonwealth Contractors also provides updates on UK Immigration News.

To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partner

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REC warns of dangers of overworked Doctors

The Director of Policy and Professionals Services at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, Tom Hadley, said that “When hospitals are understaffed and doctors overworked, it is patients that ultimately suffer. It is not acceptable that babies born outside of normal working hours are 70% more likely to die due to the lack of available consultants. Hospitals must ensure that there is a sufficient provision of staff to deliver patient care. The NHS workforce is already overstretched; we need to move away from a system where trusts see staffing costs as means of balancing the books.  In acute care units – where hospitals are increasingly relying on specialised temporary staff to deliver patient care, the planned 45% expenditure cut  will only serve to exacerbate this problem. The fact that clinicians are currently not providing the recommended out of hours consultations demonstrates the need for more, not less, flexible solutions to drive up standards of patient care.“

Recently Unison, the public sector union, said that 32% of NHS staff believe that austerity measures such as freezing recruitment, cutting posts and services, outsourcing and restructuring have led to a decrease in the quality of patient care. In a survey of 8,000 NHS staff the union found that 80% of respondants reported an increase in workload, with 77% warning that stress levels have increased over the last year. The survey also found that 50% of respondants had experienced staff shortages in the past 12 months, with 59% of respondents reporting a reduction in the number of staff employed.

The Head of Health at Unison recently said that \”What is truly distressing is that that the survey clearly shows how spending cuts are already threatening to damage the quality of patient care. The Government are turning back the clock and dragging the country back to the dark days of the eighties and early nineties when the NHS was starved of money. Government cuts threaten to undo and reverse the benefits of all the investment and hard work that has gone into turning the NHS round over the past 13 years. We have been able to train our own nurses instead of scouring third world countries to fill shortages. In a worrying reversal, half the people we surveyed are affected by staff shortages. This is particularly dangerous because the lack of staff was a key factor in the appalling problems with patient care at Mid Staffs Hospital.\”

The Department of Health responded by saying \”The coalition Government has made an historic commitment to increase NHS spending in real terms in every year of this Parliament. But the demand on the NHS is so great that in order to sustain and improve services, we need to make every penny count. The efficiency drive is about cutting waste and bureaucracy and all savings made will be put back into patient care. Better care can cost less and all over the NHS people are making changes to improve care and save money.\”

Commonwealth Contractors

Commonwealth Contractors is a collection of highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with OISC Registered Immigration Partners capable of professionally representing a Tier 1 Visa Application / Extension and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a doctor on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). Commonwealth Contractors also provides updates on UK Immigration News.

To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partners

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NHS White Paper Encourages Staff and Employers to lead the way

The White Paper states that:

  • Power over decisions affecting public health will be devolved from Whitehall to local patients and professionals
  • NHS organisations will work proactively to improve the quality and speed up access to occupational health
  • NHS organisations will also
    • Strengthen board accountability for the management of sickness absence
    • Partner with more employers to help them become “champions of health”

The government plans to provide data and evidence to raise awareness among employers of the clear case for investing in the health of their employees. A paragraph reads “Employers have the opportunity to improve health outcomes in areas from obesity to smoking, substance misuse and physical activity in their employees, employees’ families and the wider community. They can achieve this through establishing a strong cultural lead, strengthening management training in recognising and responding to the health needs of the workforce, and working more closely with others, particularly occupational health and primary care.”

The Director of NHS Employers, Dean Royles, responded to the White Paper by saying that m“We want to work closely with the Department of Health and the human resources community on the development of a more detailed workforce strategy by next autumn. We welcome the white paper’s view that the NHS, as the UK’s largest employer, can lead by example with its programmes to improve staff health and well-being.”

Pamela Bickley, a member of the REC Medical Executive Committee, also went on to say “Whilst we welcome a renewed focus on preventative healthcare and on localised decision-making, it is crucial that increased financial pressures do not impinge on the delivery of front line services. Changes to overall NHS Infrastructure must not draw attention away from crucial staffing issues. Modern and cost effective resourcing strategies must embrace flexible staffing solutions to continue delivering NHS Services. As we have seen in the recent guidance from NHS Employers, Agency budgets are seen as an easy target with which to balance the books. This is both misguided and short-sighted; flexible staffing arrangements are crucial means of delivering services and supporting the core workforce. Not only do they allow Trusts to react to changing demands, but prove cost effective when weighed against the cost of employing permanent staff, or using in house staffing banks to replicate the work of specialised recruitment agencies. As the NHS goes through a period of speedy reform, it has never been more important that Trusts have access to a flexible workforce to manage shifting requirements and demands. Whilst we support many of the proposals in the White Paper,  REC Medical will continue to make the case with the Department of Health that flexible staffing solutions should remain central to NHS delivery,” Pamela Bickley added.

Commonwealth Contractors

Commonwealth Contractors is a collection of highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with OISC Registered Immigration Partners capable of professionally representing a Tier 1 Visa Application / Extension and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a doctor on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). Commonwealth Contractors also provides updates on UK Immigration News.

To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partners

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Unison says Austerity measures damaging UK Healthcare

The Head of Health at Unison recently said that \”What is truly distressing is that that the survey clearly shows how spending cuts are already threatening to damage the quality of patient care. The Government are turning back the clock and dragging the country back to the dark days of the eighties and early nineties when the NHS was starved of money. Government cuts threaten to undo and reverse the benefits of all the investment and hard work that has gone into turning the NHS round over the past 13 years. We have been able to train our own nurses instead of scouring third world countries to fill shortages. In a worrying reversal, half the people we surveyed are affected by staff shortages. This is particularly dangerous because the lack of staff was a key factor in the appalling problems with patient care at Mid Staffs Hospital.\”

The Department of Health responded by saying \”The coalition Government has made an historic commitment to increase NHS spending in real terms in every year of this Parliament. But the demand on the NHS is so great that in order to sustain and improve services, we need to make every penny count. The efficiency drive is about cutting waste and bureaucracy and all savings made will be put back into patient care. Better care can cost less and all over the NHS people are making changes to improve care and save money.\”

Commonwealth Contractors

Commonwealth Contractors is a collection of highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with OISC Registered Immigration Partners capable of professionally representing a Tier 1 Visa Application / Extension and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a doctor on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit). Commonwealth Contractors also provides updates on UK Immigration News.

To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partners

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REC responds to DoH guidance to NHS Managers over Recruitment

The Recruitment and Employment Confederations (RECs) Tom Hadley said that “We fully agree that a mix of substantive and temporary staff is the best way of delivering high-quality and cost-effective care to patients. It is crucial to recognise the importance of flexible staffing arrangements and there is no doubt that agency workers make a huge contribution to the delivery of front line services. The concern is that reduction of agency spend is still seen as an end in itself’.

‘The end-goal must surely be to develop cost-effective resourcing models – ultimately, this could result in more flexible staff rather than less. The development of a national strategy for temporary staffing within the NHS should not start with the blinkered view that agency staff is an unnecessary cost that should be systematically cut. Of course, costs must be managed. However, they must also be weighed against the cost of employing more permanent staff on full pensions and entitlements or having internal NHS staff replicate the work of specialised agencies in sourcing, vetting and placing suitably skilled temporary workers.’

‘The assumption that it is automatically cheaper to run an in-house bank rather than using an external provider has been widely discredited. The other assumption is that temporary staff create an inherent safety risk. This is not the case if the temporary workforce is properly managed. In fact, previous data has shown that more agency staff have the proper CRB clearance than those in substantive posts within the NHS. A modern and efficient healthcare service must make effective use of flexible staffing. There is real benefit to be gained by looking at how this is managed and how the contribution of temporary and locum staff can be maximised. This cannot be all about slashing costs and driving down agency fees.’

‘Cutting specialised external providers out of the picture would not only cost jobs at a time when the private sector is being relied on to create employment opportunities, but would also jeopardise an effective and proven way of getting the right skills at the right time to the NHS ‘s frontline.\”

The Department of Health recently gave manager a guide titled ‘\”Flexible workforce: strategic planning to reduce costs and improve quality\” which helps NHS managers to ‘make the most efficient use of temporary staff, reduce agency costs and ensure that there is a supply of staff with flexible skills available to provide the highest levels of care for patients’.

The Director General of workforce at the Department of Health, Clare Chapman, said that \”We are in the process of a culture change within the NHS, where the provision of well-trained temporary staff, delivering high-quality levels of care, at reduced costs, has become a financial imperative. High levels of agency expenditure in the NHS are not acceptable, from a cost and a quality of patient care perspective.\”

Gill Bellord, Director of core services at NHS Employers went on to say that \”A key challenge is to develop the skills of organisations in planning their workforce to ensure they supply a high-quality staff best suited to the needs of patient care\”.

Industry leaders says UK is still in need of highly skilled Healthcare Professionals

Kate Bleasdale, the Executive Vice Chairman of Healthcare Locums (HCL) said that “There is still plenty of scope for the recruitment of overseas healthcare staff into the UK, as shortage occupations will continue to be privileged. The UK is in dire need of many highly skilled professionals such as specialist nurses and midwives, radiographers, physiotherapists, qualified social workers and doctors of all grades and specialties. We are now in a global market for healthcare staff, and demand and supply dynamics strongly suggest that we will continue to see healthy movement of health and social care professionals, both into and out of the UK and all over the globe.”

Following up on the comments, which were publised by the Recruiter, John Faraguna, Managing Director of Hays Health and Social Care said “It isn’t realistic to cut the supply of skilled workers into the UK without seeing an adverse impact on our ability to deliver frontline services. In our dealings with employers it is already very apparent that there is a shortage of workers with the necessary skills. Doctors, nurses and specialists, such as radiologists and anaesthetists, are all needed to work in the NHS. The increasing pressure on frontline services due to an ageing population only exacerbates the problem. Training provision and incentives to pursue shortage professions are longer-term solutions, which should be developed in tandem. In the meantime, we are faced with a workforce that is more transient, there is greater pressure on services, and we need to attract and retain the best talent to support our economy – not cut a valuable source of skills. Skilled healthcare workers move globally and the UK’s loss will be other countries’ gain.”

Commonwealth Contractors

Commonwealth Contractors is a collection of highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with OISC Registered Immigration Partners capable of professionally representing a Tier 1 Visa Application / Extension and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a doctor on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit).

Commonwealth Contractors also provides updates on UK Immigration News. To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partners.

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NHS Managers given guide to hiring in attempt to reduce recruitment costs

The guide, which has been titled ‘\”Flexible workforce: strategic planning to reduce costs and improve quality\” helps NHS managers to ‘make the most efficient use of temporary staff, reduce agency costs and ensure that there is a supply of staff with flexible skills available to provide the highest levels of care for patients’.

The Director General of workforce at the Department of Health, Clare Chapman, said that \”We are in the process of a culture change within the NHS, where the provision of well-trained temporary staff, delivering high-quality levels of care, at reduced costs, has become a financial imperative. High levels of agency expenditure in the NHS are not acceptable, from a cost and a quality of patient care perspective.\”

Gill Bellord, Director of core services at NHS Employers went on to say that \”A key challenge is to develop the skills of organisations in planning their workforce to ensure they supply a high-quality staff best suited to the needs of patient care\”.

Recently two senior figures in the sector of Healthcare Recruitment, Kate Bleasdale of Healthcare Locums and John Faraguna of Hays Health and Social Care, voiced concerns over the Coalition Governments new permanent Immigration Cap proposals and said that highly skilled International Healthcare professionals were in great demand in the United Kingdom.

Kate Bleasdale, the Executive Vice Chairman of Healthcare Locums (HCL) said that “There is still plenty of scope for the recruitment of overseas healthcare staff into the UK, as shortage occupations will continue to be privileged. The UK is in dire need of many highly skilled professionals such as specialist nurses and midwives, radiographers, physiotherapists, qualified social workers and doctors of all grades and specialties. We are now in a global market for healthcare staff, and demand and supply dynamics strongly suggest that we will continue to see healthy movement of health and social care professionals, both into and out of the UK and all over the globe.”

Following up on the comments, which were publised by the Recuiter, John Faraguna, Managing Director of Hays Health and Social Care said “It isn’t realistic to cut the supply of skilled workers into the UK without seeing an adverse impact on our ability to deliver frontline services. In our dealings with employers it is already very apparent that there is a shortage of workers with the necessary skills. Doctors, nurses and specialists, such as radiologists and anaesthetists, are all needed to work in the NHS. The increasing pressure on frontline services due to an ageing population only exacerbates the problem. Training provision and incentives to pursue shortage professions are longer-term solutions, which should be developed in tandem. In the meantime, we are faced with a workforce that is more transient, there is greater pressure on services, and we need to attract and retain the best talent to support our economy – not cut a valuable source of skills. Skilled healthcare workers move globally and the UK’s loss will be other countries’ gain.”

Commonwealth Contractors

Commonwealth Contractors is a collection of highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with OISC Registered Immigration Partners capable of professionally representing a Tier 1 Visa Application / Extension and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a doctor on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit).

Commonwealth Contractors also provides updates on UK Immigration News. To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partners.

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Skilled Healthcare Professionals in even greater demand following Immigration Cap

Kate Bleasdale, the Executive Vice Chairman of Healthcare Locums (HCL) said that “There is still plenty of scope for the recruitment of overseas healthcare staff into the UK, as shortage occupations will continue to be privileged. The UK is in dire need of many highly skilled professionals such as specialist nurses and midwives, radiographers, physiotherapists, qualified social workers and doctors of all grades and specialties. We are now in a global market for healthcare staff, and demand and supply dynamics strongly suggest that we will continue to see healthy movement of health and social care professionals, both into and out of the UK and all over the globe.”

Following up on the comments, which were publised by the Recuiter, John Faraguna, Managing Director of Hays Health and Social Care said “It isn’t realistic to cut the supply of skilled workers into the UK without seeing an adverse impact on our ability to deliver frontline services. In our dealings with employers it is already very apparent that there is a shortage of workers with the necessary skills. Doctors, nurses and specialists, such as radiologists and anaesthetists, are all needed to work in the NHS. The increasing pressure on frontline services due to an ageing population only exacerbates the problem. Training provision and incentives to pursue shortage professions are longer-term solutions, which should be developed in tandem. In the meantime, we are faced with a workforce that is more transient, there is greater pressure on services, and we need to attract and retain the best talent to support our economy – not cut a valuable source of skills. Skilled healthcare workers move globally and the UK’s loss will be other countries’ gain.”

The news follows Teresa May’s announcement of major changes to the way that Tiers 1 & 2 of the Points Based Immigration System will operate from April 2011. Among the changes the hugely popular ‘General’ sub Category of Tier 1 will be dropped all together with only truly exceptional applicants allowed in under similar routes.

Commonwealth Contractors

Commonwealth Contractors is a collection of highly skilled professionals from the Commonwealth and beyond. We partner with OISC Registered Immigration Partners capable of professionally representing a Tier 1 Visa Application / Extension and Tier 2 Licensed Consultancy & Associated Trust Partners who may be prepared, where required, to sponsor a doctor on a Tier 2 Visa (formerly UK Work Permit).

Commonwealth Contractors also provides updates on UK Immigration News. To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partners.

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