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NHS trusts will receive more cash to help recruit overseas nurses

Funding more than doubles to £7,000 per nurse for January-March 2023 to ease workforce shortage but comes amid concern about over-reliance on hiring from abroad
Nurses recruited from overseas at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust

Funding more than doubles to £7,000 per nurse for January-March 2023 to ease workforce shortage but comes amid concern about over-reliance on hiring from abroad

NHS trusts recruiting nurses from overseas are set to be paid an extra £4,000 per nurse in a bid to plug the UK’s workforce shortage –more than doubling the funding offered previously.

NHS England said it will pay trusts £7,000 per overseas nurse coming into the UK between 1 January and 31 March 2023. Organisations are currently paid up to £3,000 per nurse.

Funding more than doubles to £7,000 per nurse for January-March 2023 to ease workforce shortage but comes amid concern about over-reliance on hiring from abroad

Nurses recruited from overseas at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
Nurses recruited from overseas at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust Picture: Neil O'Connor

NHS trusts recruiting nurses from overseas are set to be paid an extra £4,000 per nurse in a bid to plug the UK’s workforce shortage –more than doubling the funding offered previously.

NHS England said it will pay trusts £7,000 per overseas nurse coming into the UK between 1 January and 31 March 2023. Organisations are currently paid up to £3,000 per nurse.

The additional funding is to cover rising costs of flights, accommodation and Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) OSCE competence test costs, according to NHS Employers. The extra funding is expected to support organisations with international recruitment, help ‘grow the workforce’ and manage the cost of operational pressures and the backlog of elective care.

NHS Employers said the new funding offer will ensure there is ongoing international recruitment activity in this financial year, and that the funding will be aimed at trusts that are on target to achieve their 2022 commitments.

A nurse recruited from overseas at Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust
Picture: Neil O'Connor

Move comes amid growing concerns about the NHS in England being over-reliant on recruits from abroad

It comes amid growing concerns about the NHS in England being over-reliant on recruits from abroad. Most recently the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) signed an ‘ethical recruitment’ deal with the Nepalese government for 100 nurses to work in the UK in a pilot scheme – despite a global ban on actively recruiting from the country.

Foreign nurses coming to the UK under the scheme must have passed their English language requirements and computer-based test before they arrive.

The workforce crisis in the NHS is well documented, with a shortage of more than 50,000 nurses and midwives contributing to dire workforce conditions across the health service.

In 2019, the government pledged to increase the numbers of registered nurses in the NHS in England by 50,000 by the end of the current parliament in 2024. International recruitment is expected to help significantly contribute to this target, helping to deliver between 51,000 and 57,000 more nurses by 2024, according to DHSC figures.

But the figure has been heavily criticised by workforce experts who say it will have no clear impact on nursing shortages and fails to address the cause of continued nurse vacancy rates across the NHS.

The RCN has been contacted for comment.


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