News

Hundreds of overseas nurses recruited in Scotland

Scottish Government initiative dismissed as a ‘drop in the ocean’ by RCN while opposition politicians question if it is ethical
A nurse of Asian heritage looking after a hospital patient

Scottish Government initiative dismissed as a ‘drop in the ocean’ by RCN while opposition politicians question if it is ethical

Hundreds of overseas nurses have been recruited by Scottish health boards to help plug gaps in the NHS workforce and mitigate ‘unprecedented challenges’.

Under a £4.5 million initiative the Scottish government said that almost 200 international nurses have been sourced from global recruitment to help address staffing shortages, with agreements for a further 200 nurses from countries including India and the Philippines to start roles in the coming months.

Health boards have also recruited 1,000 healthcare support workers, with the new staff working across acute hospitals and community health teams.

    Scottish Government initiative dismissed as a ‘drop in the ocean’ by RCN while opposition politicians question if it is ethical

    A nurse of Asian heritage looking after a hospital patient
    Picture: Neil O'Connor

    Hundreds of overseas nurses have been recruited by Scottish health boards to help plug gaps in the NHS workforce and mitigate ‘unprecedented challenges’.

    Under a £4.5 million initiative the Scottish government said that almost 200 international nurses have been sourced from global recruitment to help address staffing shortages, with agreements for a further 200 nurses from countries including India and the Philippines to start roles in the coming months.

    Health boards have also recruited 1,000 healthcare support workers, with the new staff working across acute hospitals and community health teams.

    But while the Scottish government hailed the scheme a success, RCN Scotland called numbers a ‘drop in the ocean’ when set against the 4,500 nursing vacancies in the country. On its Twitter page, RCN Scotland said: ‘What is needed are significant measures to retain staff, including fair pay, safe staffing legislation and better workforce planning,’ a spokesperson said.

    Jump in international recruitment of nurses from outside the EU

    Scottish Health and Social Care Secretary Humza Yousaf said the agreements would help Scotland achieve a more ‘sustainable and skilled workforce’. He said: ‘In October, we set ambitious targets to boost the number of healthcare support staff and step up international nurse recruitment. I am delighted with the success of the recruitment campaigns and seeing the new staff already providing front-line patient care.

    ‘Scotland has the best-paid NHS staff in the UK and record workforce levels, with more than 155,000 whole time equivalent (WTE) staff now working in the service. We are determined to continue this progress as we recover from the pandemic.’

    International recruitment of nurses from outside the EU has risen sharply in the UK in the past five years, with the number of overseas registered nurses joining the NMC register increasing seven-fold from 2017 to 2021, from 2,474 to 17,652.

    The Scottish Conservatives and Labour Party questioned whether the continued recruitment from other countries’ health services was ethical. Scottish Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie accused the Scottish Government of ‘raiding the healthcare systems of other nations to paper over their own failure’ to adequately train and recruit staff in Scotland.

    The Scottish government insisted that ‘all international recruitment is in line with the Scottish Code of Practice for health and social care personnel’.


    In other news

    Sign up to continue reading for FREE

    OR

    Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

    Save over 50% on your first three months:

    • Customisable clinical dashboard featuring 200+ topics
    • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals including Nursing Standard
    • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
    • NMC-compliant RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
    • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests

    This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

    Jobs