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RCEM urges government to recruit more emergency nurses from overseas

Royal College of Emergency Medicine wants nationally coordinated programme to address shortage of emergency nurses along with funding for ethical international recruitment
Picture shows a young woman with a suitcase at an airport. The Royal College of Emergency Medicine wants nationally coordinated  programme to recruit emergency nurses from overseas.

Royal College of Emergency Medicine wants nationally coordinated programme along with funding for ethical international recruitment to recruit 4,000 more emergency nurses by 2025

Funding is needed for a nationally coordinated programme to recruit emergency medicine nurses from overseas, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) says.

The RCEMs call on government comes as it launches a campaign to improve emergency departments (EDs) across the UK by addressing crowding, access, retention, experience and safety.

RCEM president

Royal College of Emergency Medicine wants nationally coordinated programme along with funding for ethical international recruitment to recruit 4,000 more emergency nurses by 2025

Picture shows a young woman with a suitcase at an airport. The Royal College of Emergency Medicine wants nationally coordinated  programme to recruit emergency nurses from overseas.
Picture: iStock

Funding is needed for a nationally coordinated programme to recruit emergency medicine nurses from overseas, the Royal College of Emergency Medicine (RCEM) says.

The RCEM’s call on government comes as it launches a campaign to improve emergency departments (EDs) across the UK by addressing crowding, access, retention, experience and safety.

RCEM president Katherine Henderson said the campaign is taking a holistic approach to making EDs better.

‘It is a guide to remedying the dire situation we are in, and if put into practice it will help improve the lives of patients and staff,’ she said.

Need to recruit nurses from countries with comparable training and health systems

The RCEM says a shortage of nursing staff across the UK must be urgently addressed and makes several demands, including:

  • Funding a nationally coordinated programme of ethical international recruitment for emergency medicine nurses from countries with comparable training and health systems.
  • Recruiting an additional 4,000 emergency nurses by 2025 to address the shortage in the workforce.
  • Understanding and supporting the continuous professional development needs of emergency nurse practitioners and other staff.

 RCEM figures show that more than 100,000 patients have waited for over 12 hours in 50 EDs since October 2019.

Dr Henderson said: ‘Let’s grasp the opportunity of a new decade and a new government – a government that has indicated that the NHS is at the heart of its policies – to be open about the problems and determined to solve them.’

David Smith, chair of the RCN Emergency Care Association, said the association fully endorsed the RCEM campaign, and said the wider health system's reliance on EDs 'has to be reversed'.

He added: 'The data from the government again shows that we are facing increased pressures year on year.

'The reports are no exaggeration. The statistics don’t lie. Those statistics are people; sick patients, with distressing personal accounts. Our staff are doing their best in a pressurised, morale-sapping, high-stakes environment. We must campaign for change.'

An NHS England spokesperson said: ‘Given the pressures on the NHS, the government's commitments to increase the number of nurses by 50,000 and invest in more new beds and facilities will be crucial when it comes to expanding services to meet the growing need for care.’

The Department of Health and Social Care was asked for comment.


Further information

Royal College of Emergency Medicine – RCEM Cares campaign


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