NHS hires one in four nurses from abroad

One in four nurses had to be recruited from abroad last year due to the chronic shortage the NHS is currently facing, according to new figures from the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

The crisis comes as a result of the cuts in the amount of training places in each year under the coalition government. This in turn has led to few “home-grown” nurses coming through the system.

Prime Minister, David Cameron, defended his record on the NHS during the leaders’ debate on Thursday evening and claimed that there were “more nurses, more doctors and more people being treated”.

Andy Burnham, the Shadow Health Secretary, said: “Because there are not enough nurses coming out of training, hospitals have to tour Europe looking for recruits. Labour will immediately increase the number of training places and is committed to 20,000 more nurses paid for with an extra £2.5billion each year.”

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) acknowledged the skills of foreign nurses who come to the UK but also warned that continually recruiting from abroad is expensive.

In addition, the RCN revealed outsourcing nurses is unfair on thousands of young Britons who would be keen on a career in the health service but are not given the opportunities.

Dr Peter Carter, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the RCN, believes that “over-reliance on nurses from overseas demonstrates a complete lack of long-term planning”.

“Instead of training the nurses we need to care for our sick and our old, we go from famine to feast every few years by trying to plug staffing gaps from abroad when care becomes unsafe. Then once things are under control, the NHS cuts back again and the cycle repeats.

“Proper workforce planning is the only way of meeting the extraordinary demands faced by care services in the coming years,” he concluded. 

Image courtesy of nhs-nurse

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