A major acute trust in Manchester has recruited more than 260 nurses from India, as it tries to plug gaps in its workforce.
A report to the board of Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said that 267 Indian nurses had joined the trust in July along with 15 nurses from Portugal.
The board was told by the trust’s chief nurse, Cheryl Lenney, that it had 348 staff nurse vacancies, which is about 15% of its band 5 establishment.
The report stated: “In parallel to the domestic recruitment programme the board of directors also approved a programme of international recruitment to appoint 300 nurses from India in order to address the continued underlying workforce vacancies.
“The international recruitment was agreed in recognition of the wider national workforce challenges which have indicated that the demand for registered nurses will continue to outstrip the supply over the next three years,” it said.
“A small team of trust staff undertook interviews at the end of April resulting in the appointment of 267 staff,” said the report.
It added: “Those candidates who received a conditional offer of appointment are currently being processed through the regulatory requirements for the UK visas and Immigration department and the Nursing and Midwifery Council.”
Foundation trusts were told this week by regulator Monitor that they must ensure vacancies are filled “only where essential” and should review their use of acute inpatient safe staffing guidance, as part of a strategy to tackle financial deficits.
But, as reported by Nursing Times last month, research has found that despite recruitment drives, the majority of acute trusts are struggling to find enough trained nurses to fill their own staffing plans.
In December, it was also revealed that nearly three-quarters of trusts had launched significant overseas recruitment drives, amid the shortage of nurses to fill an increasing number of posts.
The countries from which most nurses were recruited were Spain, Portugal, the Philippines, Italy and Ireland.