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Trust in South West launches overseas recruitment drive


A hospital trust in Somerset has hired six nurses from Spain following an overseas recruitment campaign this month.

It brings the numbers of overseas nurses working at Weston Area Health NHS Trust to 28 this year.

The trust, the smallest district general hospital in the country, has hired nurses from Spain and Italy over the past year.

A struggle to attract nursing staff, who prefer to go to trusts able to offer more competitive career paths was behind the move, the trust said.

A trust spokeswoman added that the trust, based in Weston-super-Mare, has had difficulty sourcing the volume or calibre of UK candidates to meet its requirements.

“We find that there is not the volume of calibre of candidates to meet our nursing requirements”

Trust spokeswoman

Weston Area Health held a recruitment event in Madrid earlier this month, with a view to hiring 35 extra nurses, according to a report presented to the trust’s governing body earlier this month.

While only six have had contracts signed as part of the latest campaign, It is understood that more are expected to be recruited before the end of the financial year.

In January, the trust hired eight Italian nurses as part of its overseas recruitment. The 28 nurses recruited so far this year compares with 39 overseas nurses taken on in 2013-14.

The report stated: “Nurse recruitment is an ongoing challenge to ensure that the trust sustains a stable and effective workforce by maintaining a low number of vacancies, therefore reducing the requirement for temporary workers.

It added: “The trust has made arrangements to hold a recruitment event in Spain, with the aim of recruiting up to 35 nurses. Whilst this is the intention, the European recruitment market is very competitive with many trusts competing in the same area.”

The trust spokeswoman said: “We are the smallest acute trust in England and as a district general hospital do not provide some of the specialist services that a larger acute trust would provide.

“This means other trusts are able to offer a more competitive career path in some areas than we can,” she said. “However, other than that, there is nothing specific. We find that there is not the volume of calibre of candidates to meet our nursing requirements.

“The decision to hire from Spain is based on previous experience where we have recruited nurses who have proven to be of high quality [and] have integrated well into the trust,” she told Nursing Times’ sister title Health Service Journal.

“They have become an essential part of our nursing workforce and welcomed very positively by staff and patients,” she added.


Readers' comments (2)

  • This has been done elsewhere, and when their contract is up, they go back home. Short term fix, and an expensive one too, senior staff travelling abroad to recruit. Money would be better spent in developing home grown nurses, and not deplete posts abroad.

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  • Anonymous | 31-Mar-2015 9:46 pm

    That's an ill-considered view - the 'cost' is trivial compared to the use of agency staff to cover shortages. Even if a nurse recruited overseas only stays for, say, one year the net saving to the Trust is huge.

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